Updated on July 23, 2020
Understanding Independent Medical Examinations
As the name implies, independent medical examinations are conducted by doctors who have not examined the patient in question before. The examinations are characterised by zero prior doctor-patient relationships. In most cases, independent medical examinations are conducted when lawsuits or insurance psychiatric injury claims and psychological injury claims are involved with an aim of getting an autonomous opinion on an individual’s health status. They determine the cause and extent of injuries that are acquired at workplaces.
Preparing for Independent Medical Examinations
Since most independent medical exams are requested by insurance companies, you must be on time for the set appointment. Failure to attend the examination on time may result in you paying the examining doctor instead of the insurance company. Remember always to be honest and cooperative. This makes work easier for you and your insurer. Be organized and relaxed. Present your medical history logically/and start by explaining how the accident occurred and how it has affected your health.
What do Doctors look For?
During an independent medical examination, the doctor conducts an interview to determine the history of your accident and your current medical condition. In some cases, the doctor may require to examine your previous medical records. They look for factors such as
Objective injury manifestation: the doctor reviews medical imaging reports like X-rays, CT scans, MRI reports and EMG nerve conduction to determine the objective manifestation of the injury. This is the objective damage that can be measured. The doctor also evaluates whether your discomfort and pain symptoms are as a result of the verifiable objective injury manifestation.
Your general appearance: the independent doctor observes you from the moment you walk in the examination room. How you walk, how you sit, your personal hygiene, weight and anything the doctor deems relevant to your condition or injury.
Subjective injury manifestation: the doctor runs tests that require you to portray subjective indication of discomfort, pain, insensitivity and sensitivity. This may be done in different ways to determine whether the point of disability and pain is consistent.
Other contributing factors: the doctor is also expected to inquire about other factors that may have triggered the injury such as drug abuse. Therefore, drug and alcohol assessments may be conducted alongside other lifestyle factors like smoking and overeating.
Deception signs: it is quite common for people to fake injuries with an aim of getting insurance compensation. Therefore, independent medical examiners are always on the lookout for signs of pain exaggeration or deception.
It is important to have an observer accompany you to the independent medical examinations. This ensures that everything you say or do is noted down in case the independent medical examiner omits some crucial information.
If the independent examiners deem your psychological injuries genuine, he/she may recommend professional assistance and clinical support. This may include pain management, stress management, adjustment to injury counselling, and training on how to cope. At this point, a well-trained and experienced medical practitioner should be consulted, and you are allowed to work with your personal doctor.