Business and health go hand in hand: work alongside the company physician to obtain optimal care

Bert Beilin/ANP

In the first quarter of 2023, 9.7 million people worked for gain. This represents 72.9 percent of the population between the ages of 15 and 75.1 There is a good chance that your patient is in this group. Unfortunately, many people have to deal with illness during their careers and are therefore unable to work partially or not at all. Since it takes longer to return to work, this may affect their job or financial security.

Uncertainty about the consequences of work can cause stress, in addition to stress over potential treatment and the disease itself. These employees also have to deal with legal regulations that affect their work and income. The corporate physician navigates this complex field on a daily basis and guides the employee and employer. These guidelines benefit from coordination among the relevant healthcare professionals. That way, together we can prevent anyone from doing too much too soon or sitting completely at home while they work with adjustments.

First the pink elephant

Isn’t the company doctor the one who examines someone’s illness and returns him to work?

Occupational physicians hear this fear often, both from health care professionals and workers. It is true that a company doctor works in an area of ​​influence with many different — and sometimes conflicting — interests and advises both the worker and the employer. These doctors are used to it. They’re even trained for it: Occupational physicians are medical professionals who have successfully completed advanced medical training in “occupational medicine and occupational medicine.” They operate with integrity and are committed to preventing people from becoming ill at work or being sidelined by illness.

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A multi-year customer satisfaction survey by OVAL, the trade association for occupational health and safety services, shows that the vast majority of people are satisfied with the services provided by occupational physicians.2 More collaboration with the attending physicians would make it better.

If the business is not working

Most of the employees who are visited by the company doctor have already stopped working due to illness. From a medical perspective, the company physician assists the patient in reintegration and possible adjustments to working or working conditions. The corporate physician can also refer to interventions that aid recovery and reintegration. Think, for example, of physiotherapists, industrial psychologists, corporate social workers, and debt counselors. Beneficial for your patient, because there is no waiting time or short lead time for such interventions. And good for you, because he takes care of you. Naturally, the company’s doctor will check whether treatment is already in progress or whether a referral has been made. If necessary, he or she seeks coordination with the GP or other therapist.

In addition to guiding and advising the employee, the company physician coordinates with the employer. In this way he can make possible adjustments in employment or other preconditions for reintegration.

The company doctor assists the patient with reintegration and any adjustments to work or working conditions

Increased stress and uncertainty in the event of failure

Work plays a major role in life for many people. It provides income and thus social security. People usually like to stay in full or part time work. But this is not always possible. In the event of a business breakdown, legal norms quickly come into force. For example, the employee and the employer are jointly responsible for the agreements for reintegration in the work plan and the reintegration report. Has the employee been sick for more than a year? In this case, suitable employment outside the organization must also be sought, contact with the various parties involved in reintegration will continue to be necessary and preparations for the WIA application will begin. The risks of lower incomes are lurking. Uncertainty and stress are on the rise. This may be closely related to the treatment and will in any case affect the patient outside the consulting room.

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Company physicians provide guidance to employees and employers

The best protection is when employees return to their position or another suitable job. Continuing to work or being able to return to work is also often a pleasure for the worker. Protects the work thanks to rhythm, sociability and meaning. Quite apart from the assurance of existence to which the work mainly contributes.

The Company’s physicians understand this and will fully commit themselves to reintegration and long-term retention of employability. As an independent medical professional, they provide advice and guidance to both the employee and the employer. Coordination and consultation with the general practitioner and attending physician are very helpful in this regard. The company’s doctors can then provide more appropriate advice and better demonstrate this with possible adjustments to work. Important for both the worker and the employer.

Prevention is better than cure

Every employer must ensure that employees can see the company doctor. Also for preventive advice. This is stipulated in the Working Conditions Act. If an employee encounters problems at work that could be detrimental to health and employability, the company doctor can provide advice on how to resolve the issue. This does not require the consent or knowledge of the employer. Consider, for example, consulting a corporate physician. An example would be coordinating around night work for diabetics or pregnancy and work. Patients may also ask you questions about this. Know that you can refer your working patients to your company doctor for advice on when and how to return to work.

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Confidentiality between doctor and patient

Like other specialists, the company’s doctor is bound by medical confidentiality. In the context of absenteeism and prevention, the employer does not receive any medical information. In advising the business owner, the company doctor includes only limitations, possibilities, and advice on conditions or modifications. So you do not turn your patient over to your employer by calling the company doctor.

custom info

NVAB develops information packages for health care providers about the role that work and Social Security play in recovery, the potential consequences of absenteeism, and how a company physician can help a patient. Above you can read in general terms how this process works in general.

Are you interested in information tailored to your patients? Send an email to [email protected]!




Tip: See also “Action and wisdom for healthcare providersFor an overview of the different target groups, out-of-hospital referral options and counseling options for work share and patient income.

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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