RELY studies: The reproducibility of psychiatric evaluations of work disability

Expert psychiatrists conducting work disability evaluations often disagree on work capacity (WC) when assessing the same patient. More structured and standardised evaluations focusing on function could improve agreement. The RELY studies aimed to establish the inter-rater reproducibility (reliability and agreement) of ‘functional evaluations’ in patients with mental disorders applying for disability benefits and to compare the effect of limited versus intensive expert training on reproducibility. More info (German and French)

RELY Design, Methodology, and Results


Project group leader

Prof. Dr. Regina Kunz

Project group

Regina Kunz, David Y von Allmen, Renato Marelli, Jürgen Barth, Ulrike Hoffmann-Richter, Joerg Jeger, Ralph Mager, Etienne Colomb, Heinz J Schaad, Monica Bachmann, Nicole Vogel, Jason W Busse, Martin Eichhorn, Oskar Bänziger, Thomas Zumbrunn, Wout de Boer, Katrin Fischer


Key publications

Barth J, de Boer WE, Busse JW, Hoving JL, Kedzia S, Couban R, Fischer K, von Allmen DY, Spanjer J, Kunz R. Inter-rater agreement in evaluation of disability: systematic review of reproducibility studies. BMJ. 2017;356:j14.

Bachmann M, de Boer W, Schandelmaier S, Leibold A, Marelli R, Jeger J, Hoffmann-Richter U, Mager R, Schaad H, Zumbrunn T, Vogel N, Bänziger O, Busse JW, Fischer K, Kunz R. Use of a structured functional evaluation process for independent medical evaluations of claimants presenting with disabling mental illness: rationale and design for a multi-center reliability study. BMC Psychiatry. 2016;16:271.

Kunz R, von Allmen DY, Marelli R, Hoffmann-Richter U, Jeger J, Mager R, et al. The reproducibility of psychiatric evaluations of work disability: two reliability and agreement studies. BMC Psychiatry. 2019 Jul 3;19(1):205.

Further publications

Timm Rosburg, David Y. von Allmen, Helena Langewitz, Heidemarie Weber, Edward B. Bunker, Wolf Langewitz.  Patient-centeredness in psychiatric work disability evaluations and the reproducibility of work capacity estimates  Patient Education and Counseling  2024, Volume 119, 108093

Rosburg T, Lohss R, Bachmann MS, Meyer BW, Boer W, Fischer K, Kunz R. Integration der Versichertenperspektive in die Qualitätsbewertung der Begutachtung [Integration of the Insured Person's Perspective in the Quality Assessment of Medical Evaluations]. Ther Umsch. 2023;80(2):78-84. German.

Rosburg T, Lohss R, Bachmann MS, Walter Meyer B, de Boer W, Fischer K, et al. Basler Fairness Fragebogen (BFF): Erlebte Fairness der Begutachtung. Suva Medical 2021.(3). 

Lohss R, Rosburg T, Bachmann M, Meyer BW, de Boer W, Fischer K, Kunz R. Perceived fairness of claimants undergoing a work disability evaluation: Development and validation of the Basel Fairness Questionnaire. PLoS One. 2020;15(9):e0238930. https://doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0238930

von Allmen DY, Kedzia S, Dettwiler R, Vogel N, Kunz R, de Boer WEL. Functional interviewing was associated with improved agreement among expert psychiatrists in estimating claimant work capacity: A secondary data analysis of real-life work disability evaluations. Front Psychiatry. 2020 Jul 3;11:621.

Stefan Schandelmaier, Andrea Leibold, Katrin Fischer, Ralph Mager, Ulrike Hoffmann-Richter, Monica Susanne Bachmann, Sarah Kedzia, Jason Walter Busse, Gordon Henry Guyatt, Joerg Jeger, Renato Marelli, Wout Ernst Lodewijk De Boer, Regina Kunz. Attitudes towards evaluation of psychiatric disability claims: a survey of Swiss stakeholders. Swiss Med Wkly. 2015;145:w14160

Stefan Schandelmaier, Katrin Fischer, Ralph Mager, Ulrike Hoffmann-Richter, Andrea Leibold, Monica S Bachmann, Sarah Kedzia, Joerg Jeger, Renato Marelli, Regina Kunz, Wout E. L. De Boer. Evaluation of work capacity in Switzerland: a survey among psychiatrists about practice and problems. Swiss Med Wkly. 2013;143:w13890