A framework for understanding how variation in health care service delivery affects work disability management

Publication type
Journal article
Sharpe K, McGrail K, Mustard C, McLeod CB
Date published
2022 Feb 01
Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Open Access?

Introduction Differences in disability duration after work injury have been observed across jurisdictions, regions and urban and rural settings. A key aspect of effective disability management is the access and utilization of appropriate and high quality health care. This paper presents a framework for analyzing and thus understanding how health service spending and utilization vary across and within work disability management schemes and affect work disability management. Methods Our framework was developed through a literature review and policy analysis. Existing frameworks describing geographic variation in general health care systems identified factors believed to drive that variation. A review of policy and practice documents from Canada's no-fault cause-based work disability management system identified factors relevant to work disability systems. Results We expand on previous frameworks by taking a systems approach that centers on factors relevant to the work disability management system. We further highlight predisposing, enabling, workplace environment and need-based factors that could lead to variation in health care spending and utilization across and within jurisdictions. These factors are described as shaping the interactions between workers, health care providers, employers and work disability management system actors, and influencing work disability management health and employment outcomes. Conclusion Our systems-focused approach offers a guide for researchers and policymakers to analyze how various factors may influence spending and utilization across regions and to identify areas for improvement in health care delivery within work disability management systems. Next steps include testing the framework in an analysis looking at geographic variation in spending and utilization across and within Canadian work disability management systems