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State medical board licensing: Challenges for telemedicine

MultiBriefs: Exclusive, March 3, 2015

The pressures to reduce healthcare costs and improve access have never been greater. Everything from the Affordable Care Act to the “Silver Tsunami” of aging baby boomers requires a transformation of the healthcare delivery system.

Telemedicine, having proven its value in rural and remote communities, is increasingly being adopted — including for urban areas with shortages of specialists and in other innovative programs where face-to-face encounters increase cost or risk, or limit access.

While telemedicine and other virtual forms of medical care are quickly being recognized as powerful solutions to the challenges healthcare professionals and patients face, barriers to more widespread adoption remain. One of these is the long and complex process of obtaining licensure for physicians in the various states where patients are located.

A recent survey in Telemedicine and e-Health of those who submit applications for licensure highlights the challenges which cause delays and increased costs. The respondents represented individuals who have an average of 8.4 years of experience with state medical licensing processes in all 50 states, and 58 percent submit more than 100 applications per year.

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