Clinical Update: IME Report Standards: Independent Medical Evaluation Report Standards
Christopher R. Brigham
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Independent medical examinations (IMEs) are performed by a physician or another health care provider who is not involved in the examinee's care and for the purpose of clarifying medical and case issues. Poor quality evaluations and reports are unfair to both the client and the examinee, and this article presents standards of a quality IME report. Evaluators should know the purpose of the IME so the length and detail of the examination are sufficient to address the questions posed with supportable conclusions. One table lists common issues in IMEs, another explains them, and a third divides the preparation of reports into three steps: clinical evaluation, calculation of the impairment rating, and discussion of how the impairment rating was calculated. A fourth table includes an extensive checklist that lists the components of most quality IME reports. The use of templates assists in ensuring a best-practices approach to the evaluation. Most experienced examiners use questionnaires, pain drawings, and inventories as an adjunct to the interview, and the process must be planned carefully to ensure all relevant history and subjective information are obtained. All reports should be completed as soon as possible following the evaluation to ensure efficiency and to generate a report of the highest quality.

  • 1.

    Brigham CR, Engelberg AL. The disability/impairment evaluation. In: McCunney RJ, ed. A Practical Approach to Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2nd ed. Boston, Mass: Little, Brown; 1994:85.

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  • 2.

    Grace TG, ed. Independent Medical Evaluations. Roesemont, Ill: American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons; 2001.

  • 3.

    Brigham CR, Mangraviti JJ, Babitsky S. The Independent Medical Evaluation Report: A Step-by-Step Guide with Models. Falmouth, Mass: SEAK, Inc; 1996.

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  • 4

    Brigham CR. The Comprehensive IME System. Falmouth, Mass: SEAK, Inc; 1998.

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