The field of occupational medicine (sometimes referred to as occupational and environmental medicine) is a specialty area within preventative medicine that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of work-related injuries and illnesses. It is a board-certified specialty, meaning that doctors who practice in this area have received additional education and training.
Occupational medicine should not be confused with occupational therapy, which provides a range of services from helping children with disabilities to helping people regain skills after an injury, as well as providing support for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.
What is an Occupational Medicine Clinic?
An occupational medicine clinic is a facility where the sole purpose is helping support a healthy workforce and company productivity. This can involve:
- Identifying the health strengths and needs of employees
- Helping prevent injuries on the job through research and education
- Assisting employees in managing injuries, illnesses and disabilities
- Developing customized workplace wellness programs
- Providing employee-focused worker’s compensation coordination
Specific services offered by an occupational medicine clinic may include:
- Assessment and care for a wide range of injuries including cuts, burns, crush injuries and head trauma
- Drug and alcohol testing for new employees
- EKGs and X-rays
- Lab work such as blood testing
- General health screening for employees
Benefits of Occupational Medicine Clinics
While employees can receive the same kinds of treatments from their primary care physician, an urgent care or an emergency room, an occupational medicine clinic provides certain benefits that other providers do not. They include:
- Shorter wait times. Since this type of clinic specializes in work-related injuries and illnesses and therefore doesn’t see children, retirees, and others, patients can typically get in to see a care provider more quickly.
- Specialized expertise. Doctors, nurses and other caregivers at an occupational medicine clinic have a more narrow focus and therefore more in-depth knowledge and experience related to this area.
- A focus on returning to work. Occupational medicine experts understand that employees want to return to work as soon as it is safe to do so and that employers share that goal. Consequently, they employ treatments that minimize patient downtime.
Helping Ensure the Wellbeing of Employees
Occupational medicine clinics have a unique approach and focus that helps employees get and stay healthy so that they individually, and their company as a whole, can be highly productive. Your employer can provide more information on the occupational medicine care available through the company.