Article ID: 2020-0026-OA
Objectives: In Japan, as a result of legislation, the role of occupational physicians and the function of occupational health have been strengthened. Employers are now required to provide information to occupational physicians. This study explored what information occupational physicians considered should be available to them. Methods: We conducted a focus group discussion with eight professional occupational physicians and developed a draft list of the information that occupational physicians should obtain from employers. To assess the validity of the list, we conducted a questionnaire survey of 777 occupational physicians in the training and certification system of the Japan Society of Occupational Health. Results: We obtained valid responses from 155 occupational physicians. In total, over 80% agreed or somewhat agreed that all 24 categories were required, indicating that a consensus had been reached. In two of the eight categories for which fewer than 80% responded "agree", more senior or specialized physicians were significantly more likely to respond "agree" than others. Conclusion: The results of the survey suggest specific experiences and systematic education influence decisions about whether certain types of information are considered necessary. Finally, based on the opinions in the open-ended section of the questionnaire, we recommend a list with 26 categories of information collecting from an employer. We believe the key to sharing information is to have a common understanding with employers and develop a good relationship so that additional information will be disclosed voluntarily. Occupational physicians need to be mindful of this need to develop relationships with employers.