ACOEM's Practice Guidelines are the gold standard in effective treatment of occupational injuries and illnesses. They are intended to help improve or restore the health of those workers who incur occupationally related illnesses or injuries. ACOEM's are the only evidence-based guidelines that focus on returning employees to work within 90 days of an injury or illness. (This is clinically appropriate, as data show that more than 90 percent of workplace injuries are resolved within this time period.) However, medical issues outside of the 90-day range are also addressed throughout the Guidelines. The Guidelines were developed in response to rising expectations for quality of care; increased expectations for good outcomes and medical safety; the need to stop over utilization and to curb unproductive and even harmful procedures; and the need to reflect advances in medicine based on the best available evidence. The Guidelines - which were developed, tested, and refined in medical practice - present essential evidence-based information to address the injured worker's functional impairment and safely return him or her to work. The treatment approach takes a comprehensive view that encompasses the medical, psychosocial, and functional outcomes of the injured worker. This approach enables the Guidelines to be an integral, seamless part of treatment planning and case-management systems. The Guidelines are an important tool for physicians and other health care providers, and all others with responsibility for or involvement in worker health and workers' compensation systems.
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