Purpose: To explore the preferable way of use and design of a work ability prognosis support tool for insurance physicians (IPs) and labour experts (LEs), based on a prediction model for future changes in work ability among individuals applying for a work disability benefit.
Methods: We conducted three focus groups with professionals of the Dutch Social Security Institute (17 IPs and 7 LEs). Data were audio recorded and qualitatively analysed according to the main principles of thematic analysis.
Results: Clarity and ease of use were mentioned as important features of the tool. Most professionals preferred to make their own judgement during the work disability assessment interview with the claimant and afterwards verify their evaluation with the tool. Concerning preferences on the design of the tool, dividing work disability claimants into categories based on the outcome of the prediction model was experienced as the most straightforward and clear way of presenting the results. Professionals expected that this encourages them to use the tool and act accordingly.
Conclusions: The tool should be easy to access and interpret, to increase the chance that professionals will use it. This way it can optimally help professionals making accurate prognoses of future changes in work ability.