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Is an Occupational Examination Superior to an Occupational Health History Alone for Preplacement Screening in Health Care Settings?

Newcomb, Richard D. MD, MPH; Molella, Robin G. MD, MPH; Varkey, Prathibha MBBS, MPH, MHPE; Sturchio, Glenn M. PhD; Hagen, Philip T. MD, MPH; Cha, Stephen S. MS; Buchta, William G. MD, MS, MPH

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: March 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 3 - p 276–279
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318246f1b7
ORIGINAL ARTICLES: CME Available for this Article at

Objectives: To determine whether preplacement recommendations following an occupationally focused medical history is different from those following an occupational consultation.

Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of 172 applicants to our institution.

Results: Following provider review of occupational history survey alone, none of the applicants had restrictions recommended. In comparison, only 163 applicants (94.7%) were recommended to be hired without restrictions following provider review of the same patient's occupational history and examination (P = 0.0078).

Conclusion: A well-designed questionnaire is useful for screening applicants for preplacement examinations and assures sufficient detail to allow for a large proportion of individuals to proceed to employment without an occupational examination. However, in this study, a small but statistically significant portion (5%) of applicants required occupational examinations for appropriate work recommendations.

From the Mayo Clinic Division of Preventive, Occupational and Aerospace Medicine, Department of Medicine (Drs Newcomb, Molella, Varkey, Sturchio, Hagen, and Buchta), and Mayo Clinic Division of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics (Mr Cha), Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.

Address correspondence to: Richard D. Newcomb MD, MPH, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St SW, Rochester, MN 55901 (

Authors Newcomb, Molella, Varkey, Sturchio, Hagen, Cha, and Buchta have no financial disclosures related to this research.

The JOEM Editorial Board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

©2012The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine