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  • Researchers Honored for Outstanding Contribution to Medical Literature on Cost-effective Treatment for Low Back Pain

    Study indicates when treating low back pain — approaches with higher resource utilization and lower adherence to medical guidelines are linked to higher costs

    The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), an international medical society, honored Harris Allen, PhD, and colleagues, with the Kammer Merit in Authorship Award on May 3 during its 2015 American Occupational Health Conference in Baltimore, Md. This award recognizes an outstanding scientific contribution published in ACOEM’s Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM) during a given year.

    HAllenLead author Dr. Allen of Harris Allen Group LLC of Brookline, Mass., and his colleagues were acknowledged for their paper “Tracking Low Back Problems in a Major Self-Insured Workforce: Toward Improvement in the Patient’s Journey,” which appeared in the June 2014 issue of JOEM.

    The authors concluded from this study that although employers and their occupational health personnel are not necessarily looking to test the accuracy or appropriateness of guidelines for low back pain (LBP) care per se, they are seeking to better manage the long-term total cost outcomes of their LBP employee patients. This work shows that their capacity to gauge the congruence between care actually delivered and pertinent timing-related aspects of guidelines for that care, holds much promise for advancing this objective.

    “This study is important because it provided evidence for the most cost-effective approaches to treatment for back problems in a large U.S. manufacturer. Since back pain is a major employee problem and employer cost, identifying the best approaches is critical to providing employees with the best outcomes for the least cost — approaches with higher resource utilization and lower adherence to medical guidelines are linked to higher costs,” stated JOEM Editor Paul Brandt-Rauf, MD.

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    Citation — Allen H, Wright M, Craig T, Mardekian J, Cheung R, Sanchez R, Bunn WB, Rogers W. Tracking low back problems in a major self-insured workforce: toward improvement in the patient’s journey. J Occup Environ Med. 2014;56(6):604-20. Open access article.

    About ACOEM — Founded in 1916, ACOEM represents nearly 4,500 physicians who specialize in occupational and environmental medicine and who are dedicated to promoting the health of workers through preventive medicine, clinical care, disability management, research, and education. JOEM is ACOEM’s official scientific journal. The Kammer Merit in Authorship Award recognizes articles of outstanding significance published in JOEM during a given year. The award is named for Adolph G. Kammer, MD (1903-1962), first editor of JOEM. For more information, visit www.acoem.org.

    About the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine — The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (www.joem.org) is the official journal of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Edited to serve as a guide for physicians, nurses, and researchers, the clinically oriented research articles are an excellent source for new ideas, concepts, techniques, and procedures that can be readily applied to the industrial or commercial employment setting.