What is Research?
Research and evidence-based medicine is a movement within the scientific profession based on the use of scientific method, applying rigour to the process of evaluating treatment and management practices. This includes the long-established health traditions that have not yet been subjected to adequate scientific scrutiny.
The major advance achieved through scientific health research is the use of tools that remove bias, and allow us to compare treatment or interventions with what would happen if the intervention was not implemented. That is, to compare a treatment or intervention to the natural history of a condition or process that is not treated.
As an example of this, in the study of a treatment for back pain we might find that 90% of people improve within a month with treatment. While that sounds positive, an appropriate scientific study would seek to compare those results to what would happen without the treatment, ie comparing treatment outcomes to non treated outcomes. If a scientific study finds that 90% of people improve within a month without any treatment, our views on using the treatment will be less positive and more realistic because the research shows that treatment is not producing improved overall results. Further, if we find that people who have that particular treatment take longer to return to work, then that improved level of understanding would lead practitioners to avoid that as a form of treatment.
For an overview of the best available research on all of the subjects regarding Return To Work see ResWorks online research knowledge base: www.rtwknowledge.org
What is medically-unnecessary disability?
From Dr Jennifer Christian, President & Chief Medical Officer of Webility
Medically-necessary disability is time away from work because:
- work is medically contraindicated, or
- therapy or recovery requires confinement to home or bed,
- or there is no practical way to keep a vulnerable employee safe at work.
Medically-unnecessary disability is time away from work due to the interplay of the following non-medical features:
- employers and physicians communicate poorly about injured and ill employees' ability to work
- employers fail to address environmental and motivational problems, causing injured employees to stay out of work longer than medically necessary
- physicians do not see disability as an outcome for which they are responsible.