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An inventory on laser use among health-care practitioners

Orienterend onderzoek naar het gebruik van lasers in de extramurale gezondheidszorg


A limited inventory was taken among Dutch health-care practitioners on the use of lasers, including the type and extent of their applications. This inventory arose from the consideration on whether certain medical laser applications should be reserved for treatment according to the Act on Occupations in individual health care (BIG Act). Here, the focus was on applications used outside hospitals. On the basis of this inventory it can be concluded that practitioners, like physicians and dentists, who are registered according to the BIG Act, use class 2, 3 and 4 lasers. Practitioners from non-registered occupations in individual health care use lasers relatively less frequently. Since the use of class 4 lasers was not recorded in this inventory, the chance of harmful effects from the non-registered use will, in principle, be smaller and the effects less serious. The threshhold for using class 4 lasers is, however, being constantly lowered since lasers are becoming more versatile and less costly. In view of this development it would be wise to avoid incompetent use of the high-risk class 4 lasers (and possibly class 3B). The observation that laser safety heterogeneously, both in intramural and extramural use, is regulated and that their use is not insensitive to serious consequences, was found to support this standpoint. The balanced support given to this standpoint, leading to a completely justifiable solution to the research problem will, nevertheless, require a more extensive inventory on the extramural use and applications of lasers.

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