J Occup Health. 2021 Jan;63(1):e12277. doi: 10.1002/1348-9585.12277.
OBJECTIVES: Decreased workforce productivity has a significant economic impact on healthcare systems. Presenteeism, the practice of working at reduced potential, is more harmful than absenteeism. Present workers most often experience musculoskeletal pain that is not mitigated by general exercise or stretching. We aimed to assess whether a regimen of pain neuroscience education (PNE) and exercise tailored to individual healthcare workers could reduce presenteeism and improve productivity.
METHODS: An independent investigator randomized 104 medical professionals into two groups (intervention and control). The control group received general feedback after answering a questionnaire, while the intervention group received a 6-month plan of exercises and PNE created by a physical therapist with 10 years of experience. Our primary outcome was the scores of the Japanese version of the World Health Organization Health and Work Performance Questionnaire (WHO-HPQ) to investigate presenteeism; and our secondary outcomes were pain intensity, widespread pain index (WPI), and EuroQol 5-dimension (EQ5D-5L).
RESULTS: In the intervention group, post intervention, we observed significant improvement in presenteeism, pain intensity, WPI, physical and psychological stress, and EQ5D-5L (P < .05). In the control group, we noted significant improvement only in the physical and psychological stress post intervention (P < .05). The results showed significant between-group differences in presenteeism post-intervention (P < .05).
CONCLUSION: We demonstrated that a combination of PNE and exercise decreases presenteeism of healthcare workers. Our findings will help healthcare facilities carry out better employee management and ensure optimal productivity.
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