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Employment conditions are increasingly less predictable; the large factory of the last century has been replaced by a highly distributed workforce, often working at home or out of a service or delivery vehicle, where the only interaction with co-workers or managers is through electronic communication. Jobs are changing or vanishing due to automation, artificial intelligence, and Uber-ization. The labor market is more diverse, getting older, with a workforce that is less healthy and dealing with more complex medical problems, yet many are delaying retirement due to financial issues.

RTW strategies must adapt. Fortunately, new strategies and tools are emerging, that are better designed to address these challenges, some already implemented. These include web-based, coaching-supported engagement, tele-medicine, electronic health monitoring, enhanced electronic medical records and RTW coordination, and early supervisor engagement even remotely. Dr. Glenn Pransky, a leading expert on return to work research, will present some of the latest studies on ways to match RTW strategies to these new challenges, with scientific evidence for effectiveness and impact drawing on several recently published controlled trials, and a recently published comprehensive review of the scientific and professional literature on the changing workforce, workplace and disability prevention. This will be followed with an example of an employer-based program, developed to achieve improved work disability results in this evolving context of work arrangements and workforce.

    • Dr. Glenn Pransky, Scientific Advisor, Liberty Mutual Insurance
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