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NIOSH Center for Workers' Compensation Studies (CWCS)

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Health Informatics Fellowship

Center for Workers' Compensation Studies (CWCS)
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, Ohio

Background

The mission of the CWCS is to support the use of workers’ compensation data to improve workplace safety and health. Workers’ compensation (WC) claims may be filed after a worker is injured or becomes ill due to their job. Claims include the nature of injury/ illness, how the injury/ illness occurred, the type and cost of medical care received, cost of partial wage replacement, the number of days off work, and injured worker characteristics (occupation, age, gender, time with the employer, etc.). WC data is the largest source of occupational injury information in the United States with millions of claims in state databases. This information has tremendous potential for prevention purposes, but remains largely underutilized. See the CWCS Website: www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/workerComp/CWCS/.

Duties

The Health Informatics Fellow with be responsible for the following duties:

  • Investigate and develop methods for data visualization, including WC claim benchmarking dashboard systems (to display claim trends by industry, occupation, employer size, geographical area, cause, part of body, diagnoses, and worker characteristics) using Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS), SAS, R, and other technologies including commercial dash boarding software (such as MicroStrategy, Pyramid etc.). The aim is to optimize how vast workers' compensation datasets can be viewed to understand patterns for prevention purposes. This includes enabling insured employers to use data to benchmark their safety and health performance versus industry peers and develop prevention plans. The data will also be used to help direct consultation services, develop new safety/health interventions, and focus future research.
  • Develop predictive analytic approaches to identify employer-level and claim-level factors (e.g. claim causes, diagnoses, and treatments) associated with increased future WC claim frequency and severity.
  • Apply machine learning techniques to free-text narratives to optimize auto-coding programs for claim causation, industry, and occupation that can be shared among states and other partners.
  • Assist in implementing current architecture and maintaining the CWCS database, data warehouse, CWCS cubes, other business intelligence tools, and future databases.
Skills and Abilities

The following background is preferred:

  • Experience and understanding of standards and coding systems and their importance in interoperability
  • Excellent analytic skills including predictive analytics, and a working knowledge of statistical software (such as SAS)
  • Experience with Microsoft office tools - Excel, Access
  • A technical foundation in IT, database architecture, data warehouses
  • Interest in occupational safety and health
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

A doctoral or master’s level degree in Health/Biomedical Informatics, Computer Science, Information Science, Information Systems, or closely related field is preferred.

This is a two-year renewable fellowship. Anticipated start date is 6/2015. Salary and benefits are commensurate with experience. NIOSH is an equal opportunity employer. Non-U.S. citizens are eligible to apply. Contact cwcs@cdc.gov for more information.

Impact Update: Ohio Increases Funding for Safety Interventions

In 2010, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (OHBWC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) developed a formal partnership to protect Ohio workers from work-related injury and illness. Main goals were to 1) improve injury and illness prevention based on Ohio’s employer and employee needs and workers’ compensation (WC) data, 2) evaluate effectiveness of OHBWC-supported safety-health interventions and programs, and 3) disseminate industry specific best-practices based on scientific research.

This partnership is having direct impact. For example, since 1999 OHBWC has offered a Safety Intervention Grant (SIG) program where employers are provided matching funds to implement engineering controls. Recently, OHBWC and NIOSH Center for Workers’ Compensation (CWCS) studies (see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25223846) found that the program significantly reduced affected employee claims and costs and OHBWC greatly expanded the annual budget. This past year, the SIG program provided $15 million to 535 employers and OHBWC allocated an additional $45 million for fiscal years 2015-17. OHBWC also allocated about $4 million to fund four major initiatives designed to enhance the safety, health and wellness of Ohio’s workforce. The initiatives include:

  1. Providing additional funding to the 81 safety councils throughout Ohio to conduct more training and seminars directed at improving the health and wellness of Ohio’s workforce.
  2. Providing additional funding for improved training for volunteer firefighters. The funding will allow close to 1,100 volunteer firefighters to receive “Fire Fighter 1 training,” a 120-hr training course which will improve their safety, preparedness and response time to emergencies.
  3. Through collaboration with business, labor and higher education institutions, OHBWC will provide funding to create and implement safety programming as part of required training for the skilled trades such as carpentry, welding and plumbing.
  4. In collaboration with higher education institutions in Ohio, OHBWC will fund small to medium size research-to-practice research projects with short and long term impact to prevent occupational accidents, injuries and illnesses.

OHBWC and NIOSH are analyzing WC injury data from 2001 to 2011. These data include the frequency and cost of claims per employee per year according to specific industry, size of employer, injury/ illness types and causes. The purpose of the analysis is to produce information that can be used by OHBWC insured employers to benchmark their safety and health performance versus industry peers and develop data-driven plans for prevention. This data will also be used by OHBWC and researchers to understand industry risk trends and tailor safety, health, and disability management services to efficiently allocate resources. The overall goal is to reduce the frequency and cost of work-related injuries and illnesses in Ohio. For more information, visit the OHBWC website: www.bwc.ohio.gov.

Workers’ Compensation Surveillance Funding Opportunity

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has announced a Workers’ Compensation Surveillance Funding Opportunity.

The purpose of this cooperative agreement is to compile, analyze, and disseminate workers’ compensation (WC) data to promote the prevention of occupational injuries, illnesses, fatalities, and exposures to hazards within the states and throughout the nation. The WC Surveillance Cooperative Agreements are intended to provide state health and state WC agencies and other eligible organizations and businesses the resources to initiate or expand state-based WC surveillance and intervention activities.

NIOSH intends to commit approximately $5.4 million in new money over a period of six years to fund up to 9 states/grantees for three consecutive years (project period) per state. An applicant state may request up to $200, 000 in total costs per 12-month budget period. The application due dates follow: August 29, 2014, August 31, 2015, August 29, 2016 by 5:00 PM U.S. Eastern Time. A one-time resubmission application is allowed.

See http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-14-227.html for more information.

 
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  • Page last reviewed: September 16, 2013
  • Page last updated: April 16, 2015
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