The editorial board of leading Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation has recognised the work of Royal North Shore Hospital clinical psychologist Professor Michael Nicholas and his team in awarding them best research paper published in 2020.
The paper is titled ‘Implementation of Early Intervention Protocol in Australia for ‘High Risk’ Injured Workers is Associated with Fewer Lost Work Days Over Two Years Than Usual (Stepped) Care’.
It found that a protocol implemented by key stakeholders (including employer, insurance company, and health care providers) for recently injured workers achieved better return to work outcomes than those undergoing usual care under the NSW workers compensation scheme.
NSW Health staff with recent work injuries, and identified by a screening instrument as being at high risk for delayed recovery, were recruited for the study, known as WISE (Work Injury Screen Early). The protocol involved engaging the injured staff member, their treating healthcare providers, hospital employer, insurance case manager, and a clinical psychologist to provide targeted care within three weeks of the injury.
The brief screening instrument used to identify the high-risk workers, the Örebro Musculoskeletal Pain Screening Questionnaire, was developed by Michael and his research colleagues in Sweden.