The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a training to increase collaboration between general practitioners and occupational health physicians in the treatment of patients with low back pain (LBP) because more collaboration might improve a patient's recovery and shorten sick leave. In a controlled trial, the intervention in one region was compared with usual care in a control region. Participating physicians enrolled patients with LBP on sick leave for 3-12 weeks. Patients filled out three questionnaires: at inclusion, at 3 months, and at 6 months. Information on sick leave was gathered from occupational health services. All analyses were performed on an intention-to-treat basis. Fifty-six patients with LBP were enrolled in each region. There was little collaboration between physicians during the project. Patients in the intervention region returned to work significantly later (P = .005) but were significantly more satisfied with their occupational health physician (P = .01). No differences were found between the intervention and control patients for pain, disability, quality of life, and medical consumption. Our study does not show a positive effect of the training to increase collaboration between general practitioners and occupational health physicians. The training may not have improved collaboration enough to influence the prognosis of LBP.

Clinical trial, collaboration, General practitioner, Low back pain, Occupational health physician, Return to work,
Journal of Clinical Epidemiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Faber, E, Bierma-Zeinstra, S.M, Burdorf, A, Nauta, A.P, Hulshof, C.T.J, Overzier, P.M, … Koes, B.W. (2005). In a controlled trial training general practitioners and occupational physicians to collaborate did not influence sickleave of patients with low back pain. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 58(1), 75–82. doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2004.04.015