Opportunities for Early Intervention to Avoid Prolonged Work Disability: Introduction to the Special Section

J Occup Rehabil. 2018 Dec;28(4):569-573. doi: 10.1007/s10926-018-9813-7.


Purpose The articles in this special section examine opportunities for early intervention that is intended to retain the jobs of workers who have medical conditions that could put them at risk of prolonged work disability. Methods The first three articles examine options for analyzing various types of disability claims data for targeting early intervention; the fourth article provides new information from 50 case studies on how employers decide to invest in the retention of individual workers. Results Together, the four articles demonstrate that there may be an opportunity to positively affect longer-term outcomes for workers with medical conditions. This would be accomplished by building and expanding on existing systems in order to efficiently identify, and provide timely support to, workers with medical conditions in a critical period during which the decisions and actions of various stakeholders, including the workers themselves, may have a major influence on these outcomes. Conclusions Forthcoming opportunities to develop, implement, and test evidence-based interventions to promote job retention can provide further insight into the value of the options described in the articles.

Keywords: Disability; Early intervention; Job retention; Onset.

Publication types

  • Introductory Journal Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Disability Evaluation
  • Disease*
  • Humans
  • Rehabilitation, Vocational*
  • Return to Work*
  • Social Security
  • Time Factors