Top 8 Burning Questions About FCE

About the ErgoScience Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE): The Physical Work Performance Evaluation (PWPE) – Part 1

Welcome to the first part of our informative blog series on the ErgoScience Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) also known as the Physical Work Performance Evaluation (PWPE). If you're curious about what an FCE entails or have questions about test length and reporting, you're in the right place. In this blog, we'll address the first 8 burning questions about FCEs, providing you with valuable insights into this crucial assessment tool. So, let's dive in and get the answers you've been seeking!


  1. What’s included in an FCE?

An FCE assesses a patient's functional ability to perform various work-related tasks. This includes activities like lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, reaching, squatting, stooping, kneeling, climbing, sitting, standing, and walking.


  1. How long does it take to do the evaluation?

The duration of an FCE can vary significantly based on the specific objectives. For instance, a pre-hire or return-to-work screen may take about 30 minutes. In contrast, a comprehensive FCE may extend up to 4 hours. The ErgoPWPETM Cloud software offers flexibility, allowing you to customize the test length to suit your needs.


  1. How long does it take to write the typical FCE report?

The time required to prepare an FCE report hinges on the system you employ. Some FCE systems entail extensive documentation. With the ErgoScience PWPE CloudTM software, generating an average report typically takes 15-20 minutes.


  1. Will I be expected to include recommendations for further treatment in the report?

The inclusion of treatment recommendations in the report depends on the type of FCE being conducted. It is advisable to clarify the referral source's preferences for recommendations at the outset of the FCE referral process.


  1. Will I be asked to compare the patient’s abilities to their job in the report?

For job-specific FCEs, the referral source often expects a comparison between the patient's abilities and the demands of their role. It's essential to clarify this requirement with the referring party and obtain a detailed job description outlining the physical demands.


  1. Who will I send the report to?

Typically, you will distribute the FCE report to both the referral source and the patient's attending physician.


  1. Who will be sending the patient for an FCE?

The referral source for an FCE can vary, and it may be initiated by a physician, case manager, or insurance adjuster.


  1. Do I have to have a physician’s referral to an FCE?

The necessity of a physician's referral for an FCE depends on the work comp laws in your state and the insurance provider covering the test. It is recommended to contact your state's work comp board for guidance on the applicable regulations and consult the referral source regarding their specific requirements.


Stay tuned for the second part of this blog series, where we'll address more burning questions about the ErgoScience Functional Capacity Evaluation!

Deborah Lechner

Deborah Lechner

Deborah Lechner, ErgoScience President, combines an extensive research background with 25-plus years of clinical experience. Under her leadership, ErgoScience continues to use the science of work to improve workplace safety, productivity and profitability.
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