The Medical Manager has everything
one place in one easy-to-use program.
Download it here
In this series, we explore organizational techniques, software and hardware that
will help you clear the mess from your desk, be more productive, and cut office
overhead. This article presents a handy, easy-to-use customized spreadsheet
that keeps track of medical issues.
If you missed previous Computer Corners:
"How to Store It, How to Find It with
downloadable folder tree and icon"
"How to Work Faster, More Efficiently, and with
Lower Overhead" click
Case Management Adjunct,
|Does Your Case Management
Program Do It All?
In the last "Computer Corner"
column, I noted that case
management databases do not do
everything you want or need to
handle your cases. You would
have to add too many fields and
forms/records to display the
information, making the database
unwieldy. Because of the way that
databases store information, it is
difficult to make that information
available for other cases without
tedious and time-consuming
cutting and pasting.
SB 899 requires closer attention to the
In 2004, we saw a sea change in handling medical
issues in California workers' compensation cases.
Reliance on the ACOEM guidelines, the use of the
AMA Guides as a starting point for evaluating
permanent disability, utilization review, medical
provider networks, evidence-based medicine
("EBM"), and restrictions on forensic evaluations
make it more important than ever that the workers'
compensation attorney be up on medical issues.
In the past, many relied on the forensic evaluators to
diagnose conditions, set forth factors of permanent
disability, and recommend medical treatment.
Because the rating schedule was largely based on
work restrictions, great detail in discussing factors
of disability was not necessary or desirable,
especially if it departed from the known standards.
Now, if you wait until you get your forensic report to
investigate the value of your case, it will probably be
too late. You need to start much earlier, carefully
considering the primary treating physician and
consultants, the kind of panel doctor to use, the
specialty of the Agreed Medical Evaluator, and what
questions to ask these doctors concerning other
conditions and side effects that may be ratable
under the new system, or may furnish a basis for
a diminished future earning capacity evaluation.
In the current climate, we really need to know much more about medical
treatment and its cost, and the impact of medical conditions on earning
capacity. We can no longer rely on treating doctors, medical-legal examiners,
or vocational experts to give us the answers. It is too late by the time we get
The Medical Manager
One solution is an easy-to-use spreadsheet that
you can tailor to your needs and incorporate into
a Case Manager workbook. In future issues, we
will be adding pages to the workbook to create a
Case Manager where you can keep the type of
information that does not fit well in a case
management database. In this issue we will focus
on how to use the spreadsheet to keep track of
medical evidence and research.
A major advantage of the Medical Manager is that
all the links for medical research are right there in
the document. The Medical Manager can be used
to draft letters to forensic evaluators, vocational
experts, or to
prepare declarations or deposition
To download the Medical Manager spreadsheet,
click here, or to download the template, click
Open the Medical Manager at the
Start of Each Case and Save
it to the Client's Folder
Make sure you always have an up-to-date "clean copy" of the spreadsheet or
template. You might want to store it as recommended in
"How to Store It, How to
Find It". You can update the master as new information comes to light, such as a
new research resource.
Link the client's Medical Manager to your case management database, or put a
link to your client directories/folders on your launch bar (See "
How to Store It, How to Find It"). It should be easy to get to when you want to add a note or summary of
a medical report.
When I open a new case, I save a copy of the "Medical Manager" in the client's
computer folder. I then start adding data. As new evidence comes in, in the form
of medical reports, telephone conversations, depositions or the like, I add
information to the Medical Manager. On major cases, I periodically go over the
client's symptoms, complaints and limitations. I date the summary and make
a copy when I next update it, changing the tab to reflect the new date.
When you complete a questionnaire, change the tab to reflect the date. In Excel,
right click on the tab, select "rename" and add the date. That way, you can have
several worksheets reflecting a progression of symptoms. It also makes it easy
to update when you do your next evaluation, as you can use the previous
symptoms, medications, etc., as a starting point.
Some of our cases are simple and do not require such elaborate record-keeping.
For example, a client who comes after he/she has completed treatment, obtained
a panel qualified medical evaluation, and has a limited and circumscribed medical
condition, does not require use of the Medical Manager. But people with chronic,
severe pain, side effects from medications, symptoms and complaints in various
body parts, require this kind of cataloging. Spending a few minutes recording
important data will save hours of time later, when constructing letters to medical
evaluators, providing information to your vocational expert, preparing testimony for
declarations, depositions or hearings, etc. It also provides a checklist when
reviewing the forensic report to see if anything important was left out. It is easy to
print out or make a PDF file.
Send in your tips for office organization or requests for solutions
to office problems.