Applying the evidence: a real-world example of an intervention to reduce workers' compensation costs

Ross Iles, Mary Wyatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: Despite the increase in multidisciplinary research around return to work, overall work disability rates show little change and costs continue to rise. A recent study determined that a multifaceted case management intervention was effective in reducing workers' compensation claim costs and days lost from work in the state of Victoria, Australia. This intervention was based on principles of commencing management early, providing high-level medical care, minimizing delays with good case management, enhancing communication and intervention at the workplace. This discussion paper outlines some of the evidence behind different facets of the intervention and describes how each principle was applied in practice. Suggestions are made about how physiotherapists can use this evidence to guide their own practice. Major findings: There is substantial evidence to support each aspect of the intervention; however, the challenge lies in the systematic application of each principle in a timely fashion. A physiotherapist may be ideally placed to have a positive impact on return to work, depending on their situation and typical caseload. Regardless, physiotherapists face challenges in ensuring the treatment of workers' compensation patients is evidence-based. Conclusions: Costs associated with workers' compensation can be reduced with a multifaceted case management intervention. This is one example of what can be achieved when the evidence is successfully applied to practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-402
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Therapy Reviews
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013


  • Case management
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Physiotherapy
  • Return to work

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