What is a limited doctor-patient relationship?

Category: Independent Medical Evaluations

Conducting an independent medical examination does not establish a typical doctor/therapist-patient relationship as exists when a clinician treats a patient in the hospital or at an outpatient clinic. However, the independent, objective (unbiased) nature of the examination does not absolve the doctor from all professional responsibilities. For example, in most independent medical examinations, the clinician should assess for possible psychiatric disorders and ask the individual if he or she has been thinking of hurting or killing themselves or someone else. If upon further questioning after an affirmative response it becomes apparent that the person poses a significant risk of imminent harm to self or others, the examiner must take steps to prevent such harm and to facilitate referral to appropriate treatment and psychosocial support. Thus, a “limited doctor-patient relationship” exists when conducting independent medical examinations.