Study Finds State Licensing Process Can Impede Telehealth Adoption

February 27, 2015 in News

Adoption of telehealth services across state lines is being hindered by the time-consuming process of obtaining state medical licenses, according to a CO3 study released this month, FierceHealthIT reports (Dvorak, FierceHealthIT, 2/26).

For the study, researchers sent a 30-question survey to health professionals across the U.S. who process medical licensure applications (Rogove, C3O Telemedicine study, 2/11).

Findings

More than half of respondents said they process more than 100 applications annually (C3O Telemedicine release, 2/25). Of those:

  • 54% said the application process takes longer than 12 hours; and
  • 17% said the process takes four hours to nine hours (FierceHealthIT, 2/26).

After the application process is complete, the amount of time it took to acquire licenses varied among states. For example, it took one to three months to obtain licenses in Indiana, Arizona and Virginia, while it took at least 10 months in California, Illinois and Texas (C3O Telemedicine release, 2/25).

Just 8.3% if respondents said all states were “reasonable in processing the applications,” according to the study.

Comments

The authors concluded that state medical license portability “continues … to remain elusive for a solution that will allow for the exponential and timely growth of telemedicine.”

They added, “If there were ever a time for the mission of state medical licensure boards to rally in support of shaping the future of health care delivery by finding a solution for removing a most significant barrier to telemedicine, the time is now” (FierceHealthIT, 2/26).

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