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Towards comprehensive and transparent reporting: context-specific additions to the ICF taxonomy for medical evaluations of work capacity involving claimants with chronic widespread pain and low back pain

Towards comprehensive and transparent reporting: context-specific additions to the ICF taxonomy for medical evaluations of work capacity involving claimants with chronic widespread pain and low back pain
Towards comprehensive and transparent reporting: context-specific additions to the ICF taxonomy for medical evaluations of work capacity involving claimants with chronic widespread pain and low back pain
BACKGROUND: Medical evaluations of work capacity provide key information for decisions on a claimant's eligibility for disability benefits. In recent years, the evaluations have been increasingly criticized for low transparency and poor standardization. The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) provides a comprehensive spectrum of categories for reporting functioning and its determinants in terms of impairments and contextual factors and could facilitate transparent and standardized documentation of medical evaluations of work capacity. However, the comprehensiveness of the ICF taxonomy in this particular context has not been empirically examined. In this study, we wanted to identify potential context-specific additions to the ICF for its application in medical evaluations of work capacity involving chronic widespread pain (CWP) and low back pain (LBP).

METHODS: A retrospective content analysis of Swiss medical reports was conducted by using the ICF for data coding. Concepts not appropriately classifiable with ICF categories were labeled as specification categories (i.e. context-specific additions) and were assigned to predefined specification areas (i.e. precision, coverage, personal factors, and broad concepts). Relevant specification categories for medical evaluations of work capacity involving CWP and LBP were determined by calculating their relative frequency across reports and setting a relevance threshold.

RESULTS: Forty-three specification categories for CWP and fifty-two for LBP reports passed the threshold. In both groups of reports, precision was the most frequent specification area, followed by personal factors.

CONCLUSIONS: The ICF taxonomy represents a universally applicable standard for reporting health and functioning information. However, when applying the ICF for comprehensive and transparent reporting in medical evaluations of work capacity involving CWP and LBP context-specific additions are needed. This is particularly true for the documentation of specific pain-related issues, work activities and personal factors. To ensure the practicability of the multidisciplinary evaluation process, the large number of ICF categories and context-specific additions necessary for comprehensive documentation could be specifically allocated to the disciplines in charge of their assessment.

1472-6963
361
Schwegler, U.
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Anner, J.
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Glässel, A.
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Brach, M.
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de Boer, W.
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Cieza, A.
a0df25c5-ee2c-4580-82b3-d0a75591580e
Trezzini, B.
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Schwegler, U.
d7c1e0cd-e03d-4111-a0ec-5748524c36fc
Anner, J.
b1ce59cd-9fbf-4c25-907d-da3f020bd0de
Glässel, A.
4baf9c6c-ce77-4020-bdd9-00d9eac47ce4
Brach, M.
0fe737f3-8294-4db3-85cb-1aceabfbba67
de Boer, W.
90cb02a5-df75-4bdc-a632-6b853398d9fd
Cieza, A.
a0df25c5-ee2c-4580-82b3-d0a75591580e
Trezzini, B.
4536570b-3b8e-46a4-8643-d56e5002d31b

Schwegler, U., Anner, J., Glässel, A., Brach, M., de Boer, W., Cieza, A. and Trezzini, B. (2014) Towards comprehensive and transparent reporting: context-specific additions to the ICF taxonomy for medical evaluations of work capacity involving claimants with chronic widespread pain and low back pain. BMC Health Services Research, 14 (1), 361. (doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-361).

Record type: Article

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Medical evaluations of work capacity provide key information for decisions on a claimant's eligibility for disability benefits. In recent years, the evaluations have been increasingly criticized for low transparency and poor standardization. The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) provides a comprehensive spectrum of categories for reporting functioning and its determinants in terms of impairments and contextual factors and could facilitate transparent and standardized documentation of medical evaluations of work capacity. However, the comprehensiveness of the ICF taxonomy in this particular context has not been empirically examined. In this study, we wanted to identify potential context-specific additions to the ICF for its application in medical evaluations of work capacity involving chronic widespread pain (CWP) and low back pain (LBP).

METHODS: A retrospective content analysis of Swiss medical reports was conducted by using the ICF for data coding. Concepts not appropriately classifiable with ICF categories were labeled as specification categories (i.e. context-specific additions) and were assigned to predefined specification areas (i.e. precision, coverage, personal factors, and broad concepts). Relevant specification categories for medical evaluations of work capacity involving CWP and LBP were determined by calculating their relative frequency across reports and setting a relevance threshold.

RESULTS: Forty-three specification categories for CWP and fifty-two for LBP reports passed the threshold. In both groups of reports, precision was the most frequent specification area, followed by personal factors.

CONCLUSIONS: The ICF taxonomy represents a universally applicable standard for reporting health and functioning information. However, when applying the ICF for comprehensive and transparent reporting in medical evaluations of work capacity involving CWP and LBP context-specific additions are needed. This is particularly true for the documentation of specific pain-related issues, work activities and personal factors. To ensure the practicability of the multidisciplinary evaluation process, the large number of ICF categories and context-specific additions necessary for comprehensive documentation could be specifically allocated to the disciplines in charge of their assessment.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 29 August 2014
Published date: 29 August 2014
Organisations: Psychology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 368701
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/368701
ISSN: 1472-6963
PURE UUID: 9db3512b-c0e6-47ae-8dee-ee273eba5969

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Date deposited: 11 Sep 2014 09:21
Last modified: 02 Jul 2018 16:31

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