Peer review audit of non-specialist occupational physician reports

Lalloo, D., Gallagher, J., MacDonald, E. B. , McDonnell, C. and Vargas-Prada Figueroa, S. (2020) Peer review audit of non-specialist occupational physician reports. Occupational Medicine, 70(7), pp. 503-506. (doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqaa145) (PMID:32804206)

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Background: With declining specialist occupational physician (OP) numbers, there is increasing recognition of the importance of non-specialist physicians in occupational health (OH) service delivery, yet to date, this physician group remains understudied and their competency requirements poorly understood. Aims: To evaluate the quality of a sample of non-specialist OH reports and compare these with specialist reports. Methods: A retrospective peer review audit of a convenience sample of 200 consecutive non-specialist and specialist OH reports from an Irish OH service using an assessment form based on the modified Sheffield Assessment Instrument for Letters SAIL(OH)1. Results: Of the 200 peer reviewed OH reports, 159 (80%) were from non-specialists. For all questions, 87% and above of non-specialist reports were ‘satisfactory’ or ‘above expected’. On the overall assessment, out of 10, the mean non-specialist report score was 6.8 (standard deviation (SD) 3–10) and the specialist score was 7.3 (SD 3–10). Comparatively, non-specialist reports highlighted legal/ethical issues marginally more and adhered slightly better to contractual/ethical/legal boundaries, while specialist reports fared better in addressing manager’s questions, in their structure and clarity and in covering all significant aspects of the case, particularly if the case was complex. Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate a high standard of OH report quality in this sample of non-specialist OPs that is consistent across all key OH report components. Potential development areas are also identified that can inform education/training tailored to this physician group and assist in competency standard-setting.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Funding: The study was partially funded by the Health Services Executive (Ireland) and by the Doughty fund of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:MacDonald, Professor Ewan and Lalloo, Professor Drushca and Vargas-Prada Figueroa, Dr Sergio
Authors: Lalloo, D., Gallagher, J., MacDonald, E. B., McDonnell, C., and Vargas-Prada Figueroa, S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Public Health
Journal Name:Occupational Medicine
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1471-8405
Published Online:17 August 2020

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