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Arch Public Health. 2012; 70(1): 15.
Published online Jun 21, 2012. doi:  10.1186/0778-7367-70-15
PMCID: PMC3436716
Routine dipstick urinalysis in daily practice of Belgian occupational physicians
Lutgart Braeckman,corresponding author1 Eva Haak,2 and Lieve Peremans3
1Department of Public Health, Ghent University, De Pintelaan 185, 9000, Ghent, Belgium
2Provikmo, Occupational Health Service, Dirk Martensstraat 26/1, 8200, Bruges, Belgium
3Department of Primary and Interdisciplinary Care, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610, Wilrijk, Belgium
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Lutgart Braeckman: lutgart.braeckman/at/ugent.be; Eva Haak: eva.haak/at/provikmo.be; Lieve Peremans: lieve.peremans/at/ua.ac.be
Received November 18, 2011; Accepted June 4, 2012.
Abstract
Background
Little work has been done to assess the quality of health care and the use of evidence-based methods by occupational physicians in Belgium. Therefore, the main objective is to describe one aspect of occupational health assessments, namely the common use of dipstick urinalysis, and to compare the current practice with international guidelines.
Methods
A self-administered questionnaire was mailed to 211 members of the Scientific Association of Occupational Medicine in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium.
Results
A total of 120 occupational physicians responded, giving a response rate of 57%. Dipstick urinalysis was a routine investigation for the vast majority of physicians (69%). All test strips screened for protein and in 90% also for blood. Occupational health services offered clinical tests to satisfy customer wants as international guidelines do not recommend screening for haematuria and proteinuria in asymptomatic adults. A lack of knowledge concerning positive testing and referral criteria was demonstrated in almost half of the study participants.
Conclusions
Belgian occupational physicians still routinely perform dipstick testing although there is no evidence to support this screening in healthy workers. To practice evidence-based medicine, occupational physicians need more instruction and training. Development and implementation of more guidelines is not only of use for the individual practitioner, it may also enhance professionalization and efficiency of occupational health care.
Keywords: Evidence-based practice, Occupational health, Guidelines, Health surveillance
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