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The Value of Contemporaneous File Notes

How many times have you recounted a bad situation, a bad conversation, some negative event, to have the person you're speaking with ask simply, "Can you prove that?" If you've made and kept accurate file notes, the answer is, yes.

This is how you protect yourself. 

The Value of Contemporaneous File Notes...

By now everyone is familiar with the use or mis-use (depending on your political orientation) of Contemporaneous Memos/File Notes, etc....

Here is the reality, however. Contemporaneous Memos, Notes, Emails can be very valuable. Whether you're an employee or a contractor working on a project, keeping track of problems, agreements, important discussions, etc... always makes sense, and makes very good sense if you believe an outcome, expectation or agreement may be challenged in some way in the future.

I speak regularly with clients who question the veracity of other physicians or executives they work with or work for. One of my first questions is always, are you documenting what is happening, what is being said? And, my further recommendation is not just to write it down, but to write it in an email and send it to yourself. That establishes a fairly irrefutable time line and negates the challenges of memory. And, by writing these emails it forces you to be very accurate and more timely in recording your thoughts.

How do you use this information? Unfortunately, it is most likely to be used in a less than friendly or collegial situation involving your legal counsel. But, you may find you're asked to "recall" a meeting or some encounter from the past to support your organization or work group, and you may find your Contemporaneous Emails to be quite valued by all.


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