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J Occup Rehabil. 2012 Mar;22(1):78-87. doi: 10.1007/s10926-011-9321-5.

Education and benchmarking among physicians may facilitate sick-listing practice.

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Musculoskeletal Sciences, Department of Orthopedics, Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.



Assessing work ability and sickness certification are considered problematic by many physicians and education and implementation of guidelines to improve knowledge and skills has been requested. Our aim was to study the association between such interventions and physicians' sick-listing practices.


A web-based questionnaire was sent to all physicians working in primary care, psychiatry, orthopedics/rheumatology in the southern region of Sweden before (in 2007 to 1,063 physicians) and after (in 2009 to 1,164 physicians) educational interventions in insurance medicine were offered.


With a response rate of 58%, half of the physicians (51%) reported to work at a clinic with a sick-listing policy in 2009 compared with 31% in 2007. Primary care physicians (OR 12.4) and physicians who had participated in educational interventions in insurance medicine (OR 2.4) more often had a sick-listing policy at the clinic. Physicians with a longer medical experience (OR 0.7) and those with support at the clinic (OR 0.3) and the possibility to extend time if needed (OR 0.4) were less likely to report of problematic cases while primary care physicians were (OR 2.9). On the contrary, physicians who reported to rarely have the possibility to extend time when handling problematic cases were more likely to issue a higher number of sickness certificates.


The sick-listing process is often viewed as problematic and more often by primary care physicians. Benchmarking and education in insurance medicine together with the possibility to allocate extra time if encountering problematic cases may facilitate sick-listing practice.

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