Your Independent Examination

Undergoing an independent medical examination?

What is an independent
medical examination?

An independent medical examination is an assessment of the current status and treatment of your medical condition by a non-treating doctor. The doctor who conducts this assessment is independent of the organisation requesting the assessment and is not otherwise involved in the management of your case.

Independent medical examinations are often required for insurance purposes or if damages are being claimed as a result of medical negligence. The organisation requesting you to attend an independent medical examination should explain to you the reasons why it is necessary for you to attend your appointment.

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What to expect during the examination?

The doctor conducting your independent medical examination understands that such appointments may cause anxiety and stress and as a result they are adept at putting you at ease.

During your examination, you will be asked details about the history of your condition in addition to some more general questions about your work, lifestyle and relationships. Some of the questions may not seem relevant but they do enable the doctor conducting your assessment to better understand your own individual circumstances. The answers you give will be treated with respect by the doctor examining you.

You should answer the questions to the best of your ability. There are no right or wrong answers and if you do not know the answer or simply cannot remember the answer then say so.

After taking the history of your condition, you will usually be requested to undergo a physical examination of the parts of your body directly or indirectly relevant to your injury. You should attend your examination wearing clothing that can be easily removed if needed. A chaperone is available to be present during your examination if you wish.
The doctor who is examining you must remain independent and is not your treating doctor, thus you should refrain from asking their opinion or advice about your condition or about what the report will say.

A support person may be allowed to accompany you for some or all of your examination at the discretion of your examiner. Children cannot accompany you during your examination. If English is not an easily spoken or understood language for you, the organisation requesting your independent medical examination can arrange for an independent interpreter to accompany you during your examination.

Once the examination is completed, the doctor will write a report that will be sent only to the person or organisation requesting the report. Your treating doctors, for example your General Practitioner, may request a copy of the report from the organisation organising the report.

Telehealth assessments are independent medical examinations conducted using videoconferencing platforms such as Skype or Zoom. These assessments are as an alternative to face-to-face assessments but are not always suitable for all conditions and situations. The organisation requesting your examination and the independent doctor will determine whether a telehealth video call appointment is possible for your case.
You can expect to be asked the same questions and go through a similar process as the face-to-face appointment.

During your telehealth video call, your examiner may terminate your assessment if they determine a face-to-face consultation is required. Even if your initial independent medical assessment is conducted via a telehealth video call, a face-to-face physical examination may be required at a later date.

How long will the examination take?

Before the doctor conducts your examination, you may be asked to complete some forms that are a part of your assessment; these will take about 15 minutes. Depending upon the complexity of your case, your interview and examination will usually be completed within 1 – 1.5 hours. If an interpreter is required additional time will be needed.

Independent medical assessments conducted by telehealth video call will take 1.5 – 2 hours. It is not usually possible to conduct a telehealth independent assessment if an interpreter is required.

How should I prepare for the examination?

  • It is advised that you wear loose clothing that can be easily removed if required
  • You should bring a complete list including doses of your current medications
  • You may bring your own notes and records to refer to during the assessment
  • You should bring a source of photo identification such as a driving licence (to confirm your identity)
  • You should not record the consultation e.g. on your mobile phone without the consent of the doctor examining you

If you are to undergo an independent medical assessment by a telehealth video call you will need to ensure the following:

  • A quiet well-lit room without background noise

  • No other persons should be present without agreement of the examiner

  • A laptop or desktop computer with camera and microphone (mobile telephones are not suitable)

  • Your pre consultation forms should be completed and submitted before your examination

  • It is advised that you wear loose clothing that can be easily removed if required

FACE TO FACE

Where should I go for my independent examination?

If you have a face-to-face examination, it will be conducted at one of the locations listed below depending on your nearest city.

Brisbane CBD

Suite 303, Second Floor, St Andrews Place, 33 North Street, Spring Hill, Brisbane, 4000 (immediately opposite the North Street entry to St Andrews War Memorial Hospital).

Public parking is available as St Andrews Place (entry off North Street) and St Andrews War Memorial Hospital car park (entry off North Street).

The nearest Taxi drop off point is at the main entry to St Andrews Place on North Street Spring Hill.

There is a coffee shop within St Andrews Place for refreshments and light meals.

Sydney CBD

Level 5 AWA Building, 47 York Street, Sydney 2001. The nearest station is Wynyard, which is approximately 50m away from where your examination will take place and there is wheelchair access available.

Canberra CBD

Barton Specialist Centre, 3 Sydney Avenue, Barton, ACT, 2600. Parking is available under the building and there is direct wheelchair access from the basement carpark.

Telehealth Assessments

Telehealth assessments are usually conducted via video call from your home or sometimes from the office of your agent, case manager or solicitor at a nominated time. A test call will usually be made in the 48 hours prior to your appointment in order to check the connection. You will be asked to provide your video platform user identification details 7 days before your nominated appointment date to ensure the test call can take place smoothly.

“I wanted to thank you for your care, professionalism and support. My wife mentioned that you were very empathetic, helpful and professional, and we both appreciate your assistance very much.
In contrast to many medical professionals, we have dealt with on this journey, you were thoroughly reasonable and supportive while remaining professionally objective.
I just wanted you to know that how you handled my wife gave her assurance and hope, and I thank you for it.”

CR (Patient’s Spouse)

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