A simple questionnaire to replace a doctor's exam

December 22, 2008

The good news -- you've been offered the perfect job. The not-so-good news -- it's contingent on a medical exam.

For the disabled, people with diseases like HIV, or those who are simply mega-stressed at the thought of a doctor's waiting room, undergoing a medical exam to qualify for a job can be daunting. For them, new research from Tel Aviv University brings excellent news.

Medical exams are often not an accurate predictor of competency or job performance, says Tel Aviv University researcher Dr. Shlomo Moshe, an occupational physician from the Sackler Faculty of Medicine. Thanks to his new research, unnecessary and uncomfortable medical and psychological tests can now be replaced with a pencil and paper -- and can provide a much more accurate forecast.

"A questionnaire can effectively rule out those who are not fit for white collar and non-hazardous blue collar positions," Dr. Moshe says, "and with our test, more people are actually found fit for work than those assessed by a medical exam."

A Win-Win for the Workplace

The research is excellent news for employers, too.

The potential savings in medical costs are enormous ― as are the costs of litigation after a rescinded offer. Currently, the Americans with Disabilities Act means employers can't order medical tests for prospective hires until after a job offer has been made. Since the act went into effect, a number of complicated lawsuits have arisen from companies rescinding job offers.

"It's only natural that an employer wants to be sure he won't be affected by an employee's medical problems, and that a disability won't affect job performance," says Dr. Moshe. "He wants a certificate of health. Now we can give that without extracting a drop of blood or urine."

Based on data collected during his experience as an occupational physician and from insurance companies, Dr. Moshe's non-invasive "medical test" can be performed in an office or online. The predictive power of the test is so strong, results indicate, that it can not only eliminate unnecessary medical exams, but can help those previously deemed unemployable find suitable work. The test is already used widely in Israel.

Extremely High Accuracy

Researchers in the study show that 98% of all people who take the questionnaire are correctly deemed suitable for employment. The test is so effective that occupational experts in America have been asking for a copy of the questionnaire. It's now available in the Occupational Medicine journal which reports on Dr. Moshe's study.

Israeli employers have been using the questionnaire since 2000. It includes several dozen questions, including: Are you taking medications regularly? Have you ever filed a disability claim? Do you have allergies to any food and medications? Have you ever been injured in an accident?

Antiquated Tests Are Costly and Irrelevant

Most of the medical tests currently used to screen prospective employees were developed decades ago, when workers were frequently exposed to dangerous substances such as lead and asbestos. Because new safety standards limit the incidence of exposure to such toxins, a majority of traditional medical tests are completely redundant, Dr. Moshe indicates. And major communicable diseases like tuberculosis, formerly common, are found quite rarely today.

"Obviously, employers, are afraid of lawsuits and poor performance on the job," Dr. Moshe concludes. "Our test gives everyone in the system job security."
-end-
Dr. Moshe is an occupational physician, working in Maccabi Healthcare Services. The organization supports and encourages clinical research taking place in the community in cooperation with Tel Aviv University and other University-affiliated medical centres.

American Friends of Tel Aviv University (www.aftau.org) supports Israel's leading and most comprehensive center of higher learning. In independent rankings, TAU's innovations and discoveries are cited more often by the global scientific community than all but 20 other universities worldwide.

Internationally recognized for the scope and groundbreaking nature of its research programs, Tel Aviv University consistently produces work with profound implications for the future.

American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Related Health Articles from Brightsurf:

The mental health impact of pandemics for front line health care staff
New research shows the impact that pandemics have on the mental health of front-line health care staff.

Modifiable health risks linked to more than $730 billion in US health care costs
Modifiable health risks, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking, were linked to over $730 billion in health care spending in the US in 2016, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health.

New measure of social determinants of health may improve cardiovascular health assessment
The authors of this study developed a single risk score derived from multiple social determinants of health that predicts county-level cardiovascular disease mortality.

BU study: High deductible health plans are widening racial health gaps
The growing Black Lives Matter movement has brought more attention to the myriad structures that reinforce racial inequities, in everything from policing to hiring to maternal mortality.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

E-health resource improves men's health behaviours with or without fitness facilities
Men who regularly used a free web resource made significantly more health changes than men who did not, finds a new study from the University of British Columbia and Intensions Consulting.

Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.

Mental health of health care workers in china in hospitals with patients with COVID-19
This survey study of almost 1,300 health care workers in China at 34 hospitals equipped with fever clinics or wards for patients with COVID-19 reports on their mental health outcomes, including symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia and distress.

Health records pin broad set of health risks on genetic premutation
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Marshfield Clinic have found that there may be a much broader health risk to carriers of the FMR1 premutation, with potentially dozens of clinical conditions that can be ascribed directly to carrying it.

Attitudes about health affect how older adults engage with negative health news
To get older adults to pay attention to important health information, preface it with the good news about their health.

Read More: Health News and Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.