Value of preemployment medical assessments for white-collar workers

Arch Environ Health. 2003 Nov;58(11):723-7. doi: 10.3200/AEOH.58.11.723-727.


Employee absenteeism as a result of illness, as well as the need to enhance worker efficiency, are areas of increasing concern to employers. Given that preemployment medical assessments are expensive, the authors believe it is prudent to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of such procedures. Medical literature was reviewed, and relevant studies on preemployment assessments were analyzed in terms of yield and methodology. The authors found no clear guidelines for preemployment medical evaluations for white-collar applicants, who typically work in low-risk environments; however, they did conclude that laboratory testing and imaging methods are likely overused. Clear criteria should exist for medical assessment of job applicants, with an emphasis on cost-effectiveness. On the basis of recommendations contained in the literature, the authors suggest use of a self-administered questionnaire, with evaluation by an occupational health staff member when necessary, as the method(s) of choice for preemployment assessment of white-collar workers.

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Employment / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Medicine / economics
  • Occupational Medicine / methods
  • Physical Examination / economics*
  • Physical Examination / methods