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Telemedicine credentialing

I saw an interesting article regarding changes in the rules for credentialing doctors to do telemedicine in other hospitals.

Basically, the rules up to now appear to have been that the doctor needs to be credentialed at the hospital he or she works at, but not necessarily at the hospital he or she providing telemedicine services.

‘Credentialing’ is a time consuming business in which every hospital conducts an investigation, typically yearly, of the doctors who work there to make sure they actually went to medical school, have a license to practice medicine, and so on.

As far as I can see, this results in an enormous amount of unnecessary paperwork for lots of people, especially given that doctors in most states have to provide all the necessary information to the licensing board anyway, so having a current license is usually equivalent to having all the credentials needed.

As someone on the other side of this silliness, I have to say there is something odd about having to repeatedly prove to the hospital that, yes, indeed I have graduated from medical school, particularly when I went to medical school there.

The rules appear to be changing so that credentialing now has to be done by the hospital where someone is sitting, and by the hospital where telemedicine services are provided. There’s some extra issues here because typically credentialing involves some review by someone who is an expert in the field in which the doctor is practicing. A lot of times, the whole idea behind telemedicine is to get an expert somewhere where there isn’t one, so one this seems to put an additional burden on a hospital that will needed to hire an expert to evaluate the expert.

I have a new idea. Let’s have experts evaluate the experts who evaluate the experts. Wait. I have another idea. Let’s have experts evaluate the experts who evaluate the experts who evaluate the experts….

Why not just have one nation-wide credential checker? Sure would save a lot of reduplication.

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{ 2 } Comments

  1. Greg Smith MD | March 18, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Pat, I have gone through the credentialing process at seventeen individual hospitals in SC to do telepsychiatry consults in their EDs. We are trying to convince the powers that be that a central credentialing process would make so much more sense and would cut down on countless hours of effort, not to mention trees! We’ll see how it plays out as we go along.

  2. patrickbarta | March 22, 2010 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Seventeen! Wow. Think of how many hours of work, both yours and theirs, that is. It’s all from the Department of Redundancy Department!