• What is OEM?

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  • What is OEM?

    Occupational health care has expanded from the industrial in-plant clinic to university and community hospital-based clinics, multi-specialty group clinics, occupational medicine clinics, as well as including private and government consultants. And, in some of these settings, the emphasis is on preventive interventions and policies rather than treatment. A trained occupational medicine practitioner is fully informed about all significant occupational and environmental health activities, problems, and concerns, and can provide the necessary advice to assure a safe, healthful environment. OEM physicians and other licensed health care professionals have expertise in the analysis and development of programs and policies that protect the worker and often design programs and manage health services directed toward defined populations, as well as engaging in clinical care that emphasizes the evaluation and treatment of individuals. Their ability to interact with diverse stakeholders to prevent and manage injury and illness and to promote health, wellness and productivity of working populations gives them a unique perspective and role in the medical community.

    Training in OEM provides skills in clinical, environmental and occupational medicine, toxicology, epidemiology and biometry. Issues as diverse as bioterrorism, ergonomics, toxic exposures, indoor air quality, workplace violence, wellness, productivity, and absence management all come under the realm of the occupational and environmental health physician. In recent years, skills in business management have evolved for the occupational and environmental health professional as well, with the computerization of medical information that necessitates a sophisticated degree of computer literacy. Knowledge of data management for occupational health and safety purposes is required. Additionally, OEM professionals are advancing the field of health and productivity – integrated health and productivity is a component of occupational health, safety, loss and risk management, absence and disability management, health promotion, disease management, injury prevention, hazard control, and health care benefits management that includes evaluation of personal health care.

    ACOEM has identified ten “Core Competencies” in areas where the OEM-trained physician should strive to remain current and serve as a knowledgeable representative of the specialty. They are listed below and are each extensively clarified in the College’s “Environmental Medicine Competencies” document:

    Clinical Occupational and Environmental Medicine
    OEM Related Law and Regulations
    Environmental Health
    Work Fitness and Disability Integration
    Toxicology
    Hazard Recognition, Evaluation, and Control
    Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management
    Health and Productivity
    Public Health, Surveillance, and Disease Prevention
    OEM Related Management and Administration