Preferences regarding the way of use and design of a work ability prognosis support tool: a focus group study among professionals

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: To explore the preferable way of use and design of a work ability prognosis support tool for insurance physicians (IPs) and labour experts (LEs), based on a prediction model for future changes in work ability among individuals applying for a work disability benefit. Methods: We conducted three focus groups with professionals of the Dutch Social Security Institute (17 IPs and 7 LEs). Data were audio recorded and qualitatively analysed according to the main principles of thematic analysis. Results: Clarity and ease of use were mentioned as important features of the tool. Most professionals preferred to make their own judgement during the work disability assessment interview with the claimant and afterwards verify their evaluation with the tool. Concerning preferences on the design of the tool, dividing work disability claimants into categories based on the outcome of the prediction model was experienced as the most straightforward and clear way of presenting the results. Professionals expected that this encourages them to use the tool and act accordingly. Conclusions: The tool should be easy to access and interpret, to increase the chance that professionals will use it. This way it can optimally help professionals making accurate prognoses of future changes in work ability.Implications for rehabilitation A work ability prognosis support tool based on a prediction model for changes in work ability at one-year follow-up can help occupational health professionals in making accurate prognosis of individuals applying for a work disability benefit. To be used in occupational health practice, these tools should have a simple and easy-to-use design. Graphical risk presentation can be used to provide intuitive meaning to numerical information and support users’ understanding. Taking professionals’ preferences into account when developing these tools encourages professionals to use the tools and act accordingly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2031-2037
Number of pages7
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number14
Early online date26 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Cite this