Use of state workers' compensation data for occupational carpal tunnel syndrome surveillance: a feasibility study in Massachusetts.
Korrick-SA; Rest-KM; Davis-LK; Christiani-DC
Am J Ind Med 1994 Jun; 25(5):837-850
The feasibility of using Massachusetts worker' compensation data for passive surveillance of occupational carpal tunnel syndrome (OCTS) was examined. Massachusetts requires all private sector and some public sector employers to maintain workers' compensation insurance coverage. Compensation claims that were active during the first half of 1989 were identified for inclusion in the study. Among the total of 2,451 claims, there were 358 cases with a carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) code attached. At the time of the study the employer's first report of injury was the only source of data concerning birth, gender, and occupation in the computerized data. The data indicated that a relatively young population was affected by OCTS. The morbidity, lost productivity, and medical costs associated with OCTS were felt to be substantial. The majority of the cases in this study, 88%, had a physician's diagnosis of CTS, and most had confirmatory nerve conduction studies or electromyography. Fundamental limitations in the data were noted including under ascertainment of cases, potential ascertainment biases, delayed case reported, limited access to specific diagnostic information, and incomplete and sometimes inaccurate information. The authors conclude that these limitations are likely to be applicable to many states and must be made clear where analyses are performed using workers' compensation data as a basis for the study.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Cooperative-Agreement; Occupational-hazards; Epidemiology; Demographic-characteristics; Risk-analysis; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Cumulative-trauma-disorders; Repetitive-work;
Author Keywords: repetition strain injury; occupational diseases; population surveillance; industry; occupation; workers' compensation data
American Journal of Industrial Medicine