An independent medical examination or an “IME” is an evaluation of a person's injury or medical condition by a physician that has no prior relationship with the patient. Independent medical examinations are often associated with work or accident related injuries where liability is at issue. Sometimes a third party evaluation may be needed for worker's compensation or insurance purposes.
Often times an independent medical examination (IME) will be requested by an employer or insurance carrier when an injury claim by an employee is in question of legitimacy. The physician performing the assessment is responsible for conducting a thorough assessment, and ultimately providing insight into the extent to which the injury in question is work or accident-related. An evaluation of a person's injury should be as thorough and objective as possible by a qualified physician in order to give an unbiased and professional assessment.
5 Questions to Consider When Looking for a Doctor to Conduct an Independent Medical Evaluation
When choosing a physician to conduct an IME, it is important to find a practitioner that is able to provide a thorough and accurate assessment. Here are a few helpful questions to consider when looking for a physician to perform this special type of evaluation:
- Does the physician have the necessary medical expertise? A board or double board certified physician is a practitioner that has been evaluated in the area of their expertise by completing written, oral, and practical observations to demonstrate his or her mastery of a specified field. A board certified physician has the knowledge and skill set to perform independent medical examinations at the highest professional level.
- How current is the physician's knowledge and experience? When considering a physician to conduct an independent medical examination, it's beneficial to be examined by a practitioner who is up-to-date with all the latest medical practices and information. A physician who has been retired or out-of-practice for some time may not be as capable of offering the most thorough and informed opinion of a person's injuries or health status. Choosing a physician who still actively practices medicine may be beneficial when seeking an IME.
- Does the physician have a sound professional reputation? Because independent medical examinations need to be unbiased and objective in order to give a fair report of the injuries involved, the physician conducting the evaluation should be well known in the pioneer medical community for practicing with the highest level of integrity and ethical standards possible.
- How much prior experience does the physician have with conducting independent medical examinations (IMEs)? A physician may be able to perform an IME, but that does not guarantee that he or she will be able to give the best report possible. To receive the best professional opinion, it is advisable to choose a medical practitioner who specializes in this type of assessment and has years of experience evaluating a wide variety of injuries objectively and thoroughly.
- How long will it take to schedule an appointment and receive the evaluation? If you need an independent medical examination, chances are timing is extremely important. Some doctors may have a long wait period to conduct an examination while others may offer priority scheduling to individuals seeking an IME.
An independent medical examination should be performed by a physician who can give an objective, non-partial medical opinion by implementing best practices. While there are numerous physicians to choose from, finding a highly qualified physician that prioritizes independent medical examinations may provide you with just the information you need in a timely and professional manner.