The standard RSTC/UHMS Medical History and Exam form shared by all the major diver training organizations has remained largely unchanged for over two decades. That is, until recently. Not surprisingly, the onset of COVID-19 created the need for an updated form. In the process, DAN, RSTC and UHMS have created a substantially improved form — one you should start using now.
COVID-19’s impact on diving
COVID-19 won’t be with us forever, but we will feel its effects on divers for years to come. Basically, anyone who was diagnosed with COVID-19 should seek a physician’s approval before participating in diver training. This is now built into the first question on the form.
A history of COVID-19 can significantly impact a diver’s safety. DAN has an hour-long webinar on this; you can watch it by clicking the link below.
Solving a usability issueFrom a usability standpoint, the old form was nothing short of abysmal.
- To complete the form correctly, users had to answer over 30 different questions by physically writing out the words YES or NO to each one. Provided students knew to do this, completing the form was merely a pain in the ass.
- Unfortunately, many (if not most) students failed to read the directions. This led to them trying to answer the questions using checkmarks, Xs or drawing lines through entire swaths of questions. Doing any one of these rendered the entire form invalid.
- Worse, many instructors let students get away with using the form incorrectly. This meant that, should instructors need the completed form to defend themselves in a court of law, it would be valueless.
- Students can now answer questions by checking simple boxes for Yes or No. This is not only easier, it’s much more intuitive.
- If students can honestly answer No to the ten questions on page 1, all they need do for non-leadership courses is sign and date the form, then turn it in.
- If a student must answer Yes to any question on page 1, the form directs them to a block of additional questions to answer on page 2. They then need to take the completed form and the new Physician’s Guidelines to their doctor. The doctor signs off on page 3.