An intervention program with the aim to improve and maintain work productivity for workers with rheumatoid arthritis: design of a randomized controlled trial and cost-effectiveness study
1 Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
2 Body@Work, Research Center Physical Activity, TNO-VU University Medical Center, Hoofddorp, the Netherlands
3 Jan van Breemen Research Institute | Reade, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
4 TNO Work and Health, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
5 Department of Rheumatology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
6 Research Center for Insurance Medicine AMC-UMCG-UWV-VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
BMC Public Health 2012, 12:496 doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-496Published: 2 July 2012
Workers with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) often experience restrictions in functioning at work and participation in employment. Strategies to maintain work productivity exist, but these interventions do not involve the actual workplace. Therefore the aim of this study is to investigate the (cost)effectiveness of an intervention program at the workplace on work productivity for workers with RA.
This study is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in specialized rheumatology treatment centers in or near Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Randomisation to either the control or the intervention group is performed at patient level. Both groups will receive care as usual by the rheumatologist, and patients in the intervention group will also take part in the intervention program. The intervention program consists of two components; integrated care, including a participatory workplace intervention. Integrated care involves a clinical occupational physician, who will act as care manager, to coordinate the care. The care manager has an intermediate role between clinical and occupational care. The participatory workplace intervention will be guided by an occupational therapist, and involves problem solving by the patient and the patients’ supervisor. The aim of the workplace intervention is to achieve consensus between patient and supervisor concerning feasible solutions for the obstacles for functioning at work. Data collection will take place at baseline and after 6 and 12 months by means of a questionnaire. The primary outcome measure is work productivity, measured by hours lost from work due to presenteeism. Secondary outcome measures include sick leave, quality of life, pain and fatigue. Cost-effectiveness of the intervention program will be evaluated from the societal perspective.
Usual care of primary and outpatient health services is not aimed at improving work productivity. Therefore it is desirable to develop interventions aimed at improving functioning at work. If the intervention program will be (cost)effective, substantial improvements in work productivity might be obtained among workers with RA at lower costs. Results are expected in 2015.
Trial registration number