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Colorado Physician Health Program
899 Logan St., Suite 410
Denver, CO 80203
303-860-0122 phone
303-860-7426 fax
Office Hours: Monday – Friday
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
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Behavioral Indicators
  HomeReferralsBehavior Indicators

BEHAVIORAL INDICATORS OF A POSSIBLE HEALTH PROBLEM IN MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS

Information to Consider:
  • The information in this list is an example of behavioral indicators of possible health problems in medical professionals and does not serve as a diagnosis of any health condition.
  • This list does not replace a health assessment by a qualified professional.
  • A goal of CPHP is to help physicians before they become impaired. Most ill physicians do not show evidence of impairment at work. Impairment is typically a sign of late stage illness.
  • Note: the most significant behavioral indicator of a health problem is a change in mood or attitude
Legal/Regulatory
  • Medical licensing issues
  • Involvement in malpractice suits
  • Peer review of work
  • Arrests for driving while intoxicated or other legal problems (i.e. domestic violence, public sexuality acting out)
Family
  • Withdrawal from family activities
  • Children neglected, abused or in trouble
  • Mood swings, arguments or violent outbursts
  • Sexual problems; impotence, extramarital affairs
  • Medicinal use of alcohol or drugs
  • Family isolation
  • Financial problems
  • Spouse in therapy or taking psychoactive medication
  • Geographical separation or divorce by spouse
Physical
  • Deterioration in personal hygiene
  • Deterioration in clothing and dressing habits
  • Inappropriate dress
  • Numerous prescriptions and OTC drug use
  • Frequent ER visits or hospitalizations
  • Frequent visits to physicians
  • Accidents
  • Multiple somatic complaints
  • Excessive tiredness or insomnia
  • Memory problems, difficulty concentrating
  • Emotional crisis
Employment
  • Frequent job changes or relocations
  • Unusual medical history
  • Indefinite, vague or inappropriate references
  • Working in positions inappropriate for qualifications
  • Resistance to preemployment physical or family interview
Community
  • Neglected social commitments
  • Inappropriate behavior at social functions
  • Arrests for driving while intoxicated or legal problems
  • Unreliability or unpredictability in community activities
  • Public intoxication or impairment
Office
  • Disruption in appointment schedule
  • Hostile, suspicious or unreasonable behavior to staff or patients
  • Withdrawn, "locked door syndrome"
  • Excessive ordering of drug supplies
  • Excessive prescribing practices
  • Complaints from patients and staff
  • Unexplained absences from the office
  • Spasmodic work pace, or decreasing work load and tolerance
  • Taking sexual advantage of patients or coworkers
  • Procrastination or neglect of details
  • Avoidance of fellow workers
  • Errors in judgment
  • Becoming a topic of "gossip"
Hospital
  • Making rounds late, or inappropriate or abnormal behavior during rounds
  • Decreasing quality of performance
  • Inappropriate orders
  • Reports of behavioral changes
  • Unavailability or inappropriate responses to telephone calls
  • Heavy drinking at staff functions
  • Often late, absent or ill
  • Alcohol on the breath when on duty
  • Intoxicated when on call, even at home
  • Unreasonable sensitivity to normal criticism from peers
  • No longer attending committee meetings and/or other functions
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