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Partners in Care Program: Improving health outcomes for injured workers

Published on: June 06, 2023

In 2021, WorkSafeBC launched an initiative to foster collaboration between its team of in-house physicians — known as Medical Advisors — and external care providers for injured workers. The Partners in Care Program positions Medical Advisors to serve as key resources and support for community physicians and their patients.

The program is designed to help injured workers in their safe and timely return to work — an aim that is not only essential for the mental and physical well-being of the worker, but it also supports community physicians and the overall functioning of the health care system. "Being off work for any length of time can have significant physical, mental, emotional, and social effects on an individual," says Dr. Peter Rothfels, Medical Services Director at WorkSafeBC. "Workers experiencing unemployment from an injury, many of whom are young, could eventually be facing steady decline and complex medical issues, which leads to greater strain on community physicians and the already overburdened health care system."

Easing the pressure community physicians face

Helping someone return to safe, timely, and gainful employment takes a lot of time, resources, and collective support — from the patient, the patient's family, their loved ones, their employer, and their health care providers. While it's a worthy endeavour, it can be challenging for many physicians to balance the effort required with the numerous other pressures they're facing, such as the continued effects of the pandemic, caring for other patients who have more urgent needs, or just feeling burnt out from workload.

We've heard from community physicians that they are increasingly feeling overburdened and under-resourced, which is having an impact on morale, stress levels, and the ability to maintain work-life balance. This is where the Partners in Care Program comes in. As fully licensed physicians — many of whom still maintain clinical practices while working with WorkSafeBC — Medical Advisors can relieve some of the pressure physicians are experiencing by providing an extra pair of hands and ears.

Medical Advisors support care providers in a variety of ways, including providing input on patients' situations — both from a medical and rehabilitative perspective. They also collaborate with community physicians to explore challenges and obstacles in a patient's recovery, expedite referrals, and discuss additional treatment and rehabilitation options.

"Medical Advisors share the same goal as their fellow care providers in the community: they want to see injured workers return to full and productive lives," says Dr. Rothfels. "Through their partnership with physicians, Medical Advisors play a significant role in helping injured workers recover and return to meaningful work — and we've seen time and time again that this is the ideal health outcome."

Making a difference as a Medical Advisor

Facilitating a worker's safe and timely return to work, which helps them stay connected to their workplace and colleagues and helps businesses stay viable and productive, is a rewarding aspect of being a Medical Advisor.

In addition to applying their clinical expertise and experience, Medical Advisors have the opportunity to practise occupational medicine in a multi-disciplinary environment. They work as part of a team that includes other physicians, specialists, and WorkSafeBC's Evidenced-Based Practice group, which conducts systematic reviews on a variety of occupational health and safety topics. They also have access to in-house education and support to learn about best practices in occupational medicine and other related topics.

The role offers practical benefits that help Medical Advisors get the most out of life, including the ability to better manage work-life balance, choosing how and where to work with flexible full- and part-time schedules and location options. A robust compensation package is also available, complete with a defined benefit pension plan, extensive health care and dental coverage, and financial support for Continuing Medical Education (CME) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

If you're a physician interested in joining our team of dedicated, experienced Medical Advisors, visit to learn more and apply, or email us at, and one of our team members will connect with you.