1666a Overview on sentinel and alert systems in occupational medicine

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Abstract

Objective

Changes in working conditions give rise to new occupational health risks and work-related diseases (WRDs). Monitoring these new WRDs is essential for their early recognition and prevention and requires a comprehensive approach, using several complementary methods. The aim of this review is to provide an overview and basic typology of different approaches to detect new/emerging WRDs.

Methods

We conducted an extensive scientific literature search combining terms for the following three concepts:

Results

We identified a total of 75 surveillance systems from 26 different countries. We set up a basic typology of these systems dividing them into four main groups. Compensation-based systems (n=22) were designed to gather data for compensation purposes and are insurance-driven. Non-compensation-related systems (n=34) were created with the aim of improving the collection and analysis of data to measure trends in occupational and work-related diseases. Sentinel systems (n=12) were specifically designed to provide a warning signal that will initiate health interventions and preventive actions. Finally, public health surveillance systems (n=7) aim to monitor the health of the general population, but can also be used for work-related surveillance. These four main types further differed in terms of disease coverage, means of data collection, evaluation of work-relatedness, follow-up of new/emerging risks, link with prevention etc.

Conclusion

Sentinel systems seem to have the most suitable approach to detect and alert to new/emerging WRDs. Nevertheless, systems identified in the other three groups can also contribute to identifying new/emerging WRDs, despite being primarily designed for other purposes.

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