Fri, Aug 25th, 2023

Licensure Portability and Telemedicine: Navigating the Road Ahead


While telemedicine has been around for many years, its utilization increased only recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, when both physicians and patients utilized technology in record numbers, at a scary moment in history when patients were afraid to catch the SARS-Cov2 virus and avoided in-person care of any type, even in an emergency. Now that the pandemic is largely over, how can physicians and physician assistants continue to practice medicine across state lines, in person or by telemedicine? The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC), launched three years before the pandemic, may be one way forward, offering an opportunity for interested and eligible physicians to rapidly and lawfully gain the privilege to practice medicine in multiple jurisdictions. The nation’s state medical and osteopathic boards, which exist to license qualified physicians and physician assistants and to protect the public while supporting quality health care, have actually supported a number of thoughtful and innovative advances in health care delivery over the last few decades. Easing the processing of medical licenses with FCVS (Federation Credentials Verification Service), the USMLE and COMLEX examinations, and the IMLC – adopted into law thus far by 40 jurisdictions – are just some of the examples of state medical and osteopathic boards cautiously moving forward to expand access to care. Artificial intelligence, especially generative artificial intelligence, appears to offer significant value in quality healthcare delivery, but will need to be balanced against strong ethical, privacy and patient safety concerns. We will all need to navigate the road ahead thoughtfully and safely, to use the right technology at the right time for the right reason. Dr. Chaudhry will provide an overview of state medical and osteopathic boards and their activities in recent years to support licensure portability and telemedicine, and talk about the role of the FSMB in pushing the ball forward.