An education programme to increase general practitioners' awareness of their patients' employment: design of a cluster randomised controlled trial

K.A. de Kock*, R. Steenbeek, P.C. Buijs, P.L.B.J. Lucassen, J.A. Knottnerus, A.L.M. Lagro-Janssen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Work and being able to work are important prerequisites for health and well being. Health problems can have a negative influence on the ability to work and not being able to work can be detrimental for patients' psychosocial well being. Although GPs are aware of this importance they do not always structurally pay attention to patients' work during their daily practice.

Methods/design: To investigate whether GPs can be trained to increase their awareness of work and improve their skills when dealing with work related problems we designed a cluster randomised controlled trial. The intervention in this trial is a tailored training based on the findings of qualitative research with focus groups of GPs. Gender aspects received specific attention in these focus groups. Primary outcome measures are self efficacy of patients concerning return to work, and GPs' use of ICPC code Z05 (work problems) and registration of patients' occupation. Secondary outcome measures are work awareness of GPs as perceived by patients, quality of life, health, use of care and illness related costs. A process evaluation will be part of our study.

Discussion: We investigate a training to increase work awareness among GPs, improve their skills in managing work related problems and structurally register work related data in the EMR. We think this study will make a contribution to better health care for workers by motivating GPs to appreciate their specific needs. It will also add to our knowledge of the complex relationship between gender, work and health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number28
Number of pages7
JournalBMC Family Practice
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2014


  • Primary health care
  • RCT
  • General practitioners
  • Occupational health physicians
  • Gender
  • Absenteism
  • Presenteeism
  • Tailored training intervention
  • Return-to-work
  • Self-efficacy
  • WORK
  • PAIN

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