Survey: Telemedicine licenses take too long to obtain

Telehealth licensing procedures are inconsistent, according to one study.

FierceHealthIT recently reported on the findings of a telemedicine-related study. According to 40 different respondents on behalf of 21 different medical entities, many thought that the current approach to obtaining a telemedicine license is inefficient or somehow hampered.

These respondents are professionals who oversee more than 1,000 applications every year. More than half said that the process of applying for a license was a "prolonged" one plagued with inconsistencies.

Judging from the survey's abstract, the main barrier to a license appears to be a scattered and unreliable system for approval. Nearly 80 percent of respondents said that their application documents were lost and had to be resubmitted, while other communication issues affected the way that they were able to access state medical boards at all, including lost messages and "provision of erroneous information."

"The rapid growth of telemedicine is consistently meeting resistance because of the timely, costly, and variable process of medical license portability," the abstract reads. "The survey demonstrated delayed responsiveness by the medical board, lost documents, and lack of access online as to the current applicant's status."

Last September, the American Telemedicine Association released a report on the "gaps" in telemedicine policies in all 50 states. It also found disparities in different policies, such as that 29 different states didn't have any parity laws for telemedicine and that several states, including Iowa, Nevada and Hawaii, had "failing scores" when it comes to Medicaid telemedicine programs.

Practices should look for healthcare coding and consulting services when they feel that their own systems could be more supportive of telehealth initiatives. Tightening the approach to IT and communication in general could also impact the level of compliance when it comes to establishing secure and reliable new health IT programs.

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