Introducing the WATT

The WATT or the Work Assessment Triage Tool is a decision support tool to help support clinician’s recommendations regarding specific interventions for injured workers. Based on the work of Dr. Doug Gross at the University of Alberta the WATT aims to help clinicians determine optimal treatment programs for injured workers as well as recommend RTW timeframes.

The Background

Work-related musculoskeletal conditions are some of the most burdensome health conditions in terms of personal, societal and economic costs. The majority of injured workers return to work quickly, but there is a subset of workers that have delayed recovery and return to work prognosis.

Based on data of over 8,000 injured workers referred to RTW assessment facilities throughout Alberta, the WATT seeks to help support clinicians decision making models in specific treatment options and return to work timeframes.

How Can This Help You?

This tool can help you as a physiotherapist clinician treating injured workers in a number of ways:

  • Give you an understanding of how long it should take for an injured worker to return to work
  • Give you guidance around the best type of intervention for the particular patient
  • Increase your confidence in speaking with various stakeholders regarding recovery time for the injured worker

Note: Although the WATT can be useful for individual private practice clinicians the tool was built on data from RTW assessment centres.

How to Use the Tool

The WATT is a web-based tool and can be used on any current web browser.

By clicking on the Begin button below you will be able to access the online tool.

You can also bookmark the tool by using this URL: www.ignitephysio.ca/resources/watt/

The WATT consists of a total of 18 questions divided into three sections. They include:

  • Basic job information relating to the worker.
  • Additional data regarding pain scores and injury timeframe.
  • Specific responses to the SF-36 outcome measure

Understanding the Scoring

The results from the tool will be displayed in 2 rows.

First Row: This will outline the positive prediction: this is the specific intervention program that the tool recommends for the injured worker

Second Row: This column will outline the negative prediction: this is the specific intervention NOT recommended by the analysis.

Each recommendation (whether positive or negative) also includes the predicted duration of the intervention as well as the statistical confidence of the recommendation.


Supporting Research for the Tool

Gross DP, Zhang J, Steenstra I, et al. Development of a Computer-Based Clinical Decision Support Tool for Selecting Appropriate Rehabilitation Interventions for Injured Workers. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation. 2013;23(4):597-609.

On the Application of a Multi-Class Classification in Physical Therapy Recommendation. Zhang J, Cao P, Gross DP, Zaiane O. On the Application of a Multi-Class Classification in Physical Therapy Recommendation. Health Information Science and Systems. 2013; 1(15): 1-14.

Qin Z, Armijo Olivo S, Woodhouse L, Gross DP. An Investigation of the Validity of the WATT Clinical Decision Support Tool for Selecting Optimal Rehabilitation Interventions for Workers With Musculoskeletal Injuries. Clinical Rehabilitation. 2015; In press.

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