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The Process of Conducting an Independent Medical Examination

An independent medical examination is an important part of many legal and administrative proceedings and this includes workers’ compensation cases, injury claims, civil litigation and disability determinations. These are conducted by impartial medical professionals and they provide objective assessments of the medical condition of individuals and their functional abilities.

A healthcare provider

Who doesn’t have prior relationship with the individual will carry out an independent medical examination. The IME report will provide an impartial assessment of the individual’s medical condition. This is generally requested by a third party such as an administrative agency, legal representative or insurance company. The independent medical examination will provide an impartial opinion on what has caused the injuries of the individual or their medical condition. This will also provide a prognosis for recovery. This information can resolve disputes regarding compensability, liability and future medical treatment for the individual. There can be legal or administrative disputes and through the independent medical examination, these can be resolved as objective medical evidence can be provided.The findings of this will inform court decisions and help facilitate settlements and negotiations.

The process of conducting an IME starts with a referral

Where the individual that is being examined will be referred to an independent medical examiner. The referral will be provided by a third party with specific questions or instructions for the examiner so that they can be addressed during the examination. Once they receive the referral, the independent medical examiner’s office will schedule an appointment for the examination. The claimant will be provided the time and location for the appointment along with instructions on how they are to prepare. On the day of the examination, a comprehensive medical assessment will be carried out by the examiner. They will review the medical records of the individual which includes imaging studies, treatment notes, diagnostic tests etc.

There will be a thorough physical examination done

So that the strength, health, mobility and range of motion of the individual will be assessed in relation to their medical condition. There will be additional diagnostic tests carried out in some cases. The functional capacity of the individual will be assessed to check how the  individual is able to complete tasks like lifting, walking, bending, reaching etc. The findings will be documented in a report after the examination. And this will have a summary of the medical history of the individual, diagnostic test results and examination findings. The completed report will be submitted to the referring party whichwill be the legal representative, insurance company and administrative agency within a specific timeline. This report will be provided to the individual that is being examined as well depending on the referral terms. Once the referring party reviews the report, this will be used in the relevant legal or administrative proceedings. This can help settle legal arguments or negotiations etc. Some of the considerations that will be taken into account when it comes to an independent medical examination are the impartiality of the examiner, whether the examination complied with medical standards and attention to detail given by the examiner.

Alan Bruce
the authorAlan Bruce