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Discretionary medical reporting of potentially unfit drivers: a questionnaire-based survey in southeast Switzerland


Eggert, Sebastian; Thali, Michael J; Pfäffli, Matthias (2012). Discretionary medical reporting of potentially unfit drivers: a questionnaire-based survey in southeast Switzerland. International Journal of Legal Medicine, 126(1):71-78.

Abstract

In Switzerland, every physician has the right to report a patient that is potentially unfit to drive to the licensing authority without violating medical confidentiality. Verified information regarding physicians' attitudes concerning this discretionary reporting and the frequency of such reports are not available. In order to answer these questions, 635 resident physicians were sent a questionnaire. The response rate was 52%. On average, the responding physicians--for all specialties--reported 0.31 patients (SD 0.64, 95% CI 0.24-0.38) in the year before the survey and 1.00 patient (SD 1.74, 95% CI 0.81-1.20) in the past 5 years. Seventy-nine percent of the responding physicians indicated knowing the current legal requirements for driving in Switzerland. In applied logistic regression analysis, only two factors correlate significantly with reporting: male sex (odds ratio 5.4) and the specialty "general medicine" (odds ratio 3.4). Ninety-seven percent of the physicians were against abolishing medical discretionary reporting and 29% were in favor of introducing mandatory reporting. The great majority of the questioned physicians supported the discretionary reporting of drivers that are potentially unfit to drive as currently practiced in Switzerland. The importance and the necessity of a regular traffic medicine-related continuing education for medical professionals are shown by the low number of reports per physician.

Abstract

In Switzerland, every physician has the right to report a patient that is potentially unfit to drive to the licensing authority without violating medical confidentiality. Verified information regarding physicians' attitudes concerning this discretionary reporting and the frequency of such reports are not available. In order to answer these questions, 635 resident physicians were sent a questionnaire. The response rate was 52%. On average, the responding physicians--for all specialties--reported 0.31 patients (SD 0.64, 95% CI 0.24-0.38) in the year before the survey and 1.00 patient (SD 1.74, 95% CI 0.81-1.20) in the past 5 years. Seventy-nine percent of the responding physicians indicated knowing the current legal requirements for driving in Switzerland. In applied logistic regression analysis, only two factors correlate significantly with reporting: male sex (odds ratio 5.4) and the specialty "general medicine" (odds ratio 3.4). Ninety-seven percent of the physicians were against abolishing medical discretionary reporting and 29% were in favor of introducing mandatory reporting. The great majority of the questioned physicians supported the discretionary reporting of drivers that are potentially unfit to drive as currently practiced in Switzerland. The importance and the necessity of a regular traffic medicine-related continuing education for medical professionals are shown by the low number of reports per physician.

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3 citations in Web of Science®
2 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Legal Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:340 Law
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:03 Oct 2012 13:02
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 15:12
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0937-9827
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00414-011-0574-5
PubMed ID:21534006

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