Work-related injuries are a frequent cause of workplace absence and chronic disability. Worker’s compensation has been developed to protect injured workers and to serve as a method for cost control. In order to adequately assess a patient’s injury, prognosis, and functional status, as well as the injury’s association with the workplace environment, an independent medical examination (IME) is necessary. Several guidelines have been established to assist physicians in performing IMEs in order to ensure thorough medical evaluations. Additionally, the limited relationship that exists between a physician and a patient during an IME is thought to facilitate the objective medical evaluation of a patient. However, this limited relationship has served as a source of controversy due to potential conflicts of interest and questionable physician liability. By appropriately informing and consenting the patient, adhering to established medical guidelines, and utilizing up-to-date evidence-based medicine, a physician can perform an objective and adequate IME.
Worker’s compensation Independent medical examination Work injury Patient-physician relationship The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine Functional status Chronic pain Conflicts of interest Physician liability Employer
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No funds were received in support of this work. No benefits in any form have been or will be received from any commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this manuscript.
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