A survey and review of telemedicine license portability

Herbert J. Rogove, Benjamin Amoateng, Jennifer Binner, Bart M Demaerschalk, Richard B. Sanders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: One of the major barriers to the practice of telemedicine is the state-to-state inconsistency and variability of requirements for physicians to obtain a medical license. Materials and Methods: Invitations were extended to 61 individuals, representing 21 companies and healthcare systems. The participants had to meet strict inclusion criteria. Health professionals who process well over 1,000 applicants a year were provided a 30-question survey asking about state medical boards and their assessment, including ease of obtaining a license as well as difficulties. Results: Responses were received from 40 of 61 (66%) individuals. Responders ranked their expectations of state medical boards for the following qualities: responsiveness to questions, cooperation, willingness to expedite the application, and knowledge. Although 46% of respondents perceived the state medical board licensing to be reasonable, 54% reported a prolonged application process owing to variable requirements and a deficiency of board office assistance. When respondents were asked about difficulty in dealing with the state medical boards, the reasons listed included the following: failure to respond to e-mails or calls, failure to provide updates on missing content, lack of cooperation, lack of uniform process/consistency, provision of erroneous information, and failure to use the Federation Credentials Verification Service. Lost documents was a problem in that 79% had to resubmit documents that were lost. Conclusions: The rapid growth of telemedicine is consistently meeting resistance because of the timely, costly, and variable process of medical license portability. A survey of professionals who, combined, annually process over 1,000 applications revealed major disparities among states. The survey demonstrated delayed responsiveness by the medical board, lost documents, and lack of access online as to the current applicant's status. Many of the respondents felt a standardized process or even a national license was a viable solution. Several models for a solution are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)374-381
Number of pages8
JournalTelemedicine and e-Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • barriers to telemedicine
  • medical license portability
  • state medical boards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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