by Jennifer M. Smith, Esq.

We recently gave a presentation on how to effectively communicate with physicians. Because medical opinions are the cornerstone of most workers’ compensation cases, we wanted to share the suggestions with all of our clients. So often, adjusters and employers have good information, perhaps from surveillance, prior medical records or details from those who work with the employee, but conveying this helpful information to physicians in a way that results in the most favorable opinion possible can be challenging. So how do you effectively communicate with doctors? Here are some general tips:

  • If you can, speak with the physician prior to requesting a questionnaire be filled out. This allows you to find out what the opinion is first and then add or remove questions, if needed.
  • Realizing that most of the time you are unable to speak to the physician first, give very specific information in the letter to the physician, but make the questionnaire basic to allow the physician to answer in a way that is favorable, but does not box the physician in or make it seem the physician was pushed into an opinion.
  • Give the physician all of the evidence, not just the favorable evidence. This allows the physician to provide a stronger, well rounded opinion which will be more persuasive, particularly if it is favorable.
  • Do not push too hard.
  • Be respectful but ask what you want answered.
  • Physicians do not like to be “caught in the middle” of the claimant and the employer/insurer. Consider copying the claimant’s attorney on a letter to the physician to make it apparent you are being up front and simply trying to get at the truth of the situation.
  • If you are not getting any response from the provider, and have gone through the normal channels to obtain the opinion, speak with the office manager or marketing director of the practice. Often, they can get results when going through the medical assistant or workers’ compensation coordinator does not seem to work.

For examples of medical questionnaires, please contact me at: or (404) 446-4481.