Licensing telemedicine: the need for a national system

Telemed J E Health. 2000 Winter;6(4):429-39. doi: 10.1089/15305620050503915.


The expansion of information technology has shattered geographic boundaries, allowing for extraordinarily increased access to health information and expanded opportunities for telemedicine practice across state boundaries. But despite its recent growth, telemedicine technology remains embedded in a state-based licensure system that places severe limits on its expansion. The current system of medical licensure is based primarily on statutes written at the turn of the 20th century. This system is inadequate to address the emerging medical practices and future uses of medical technology in the telecommunications age. To respond to the changes offered by the telecommunications revolution, we need to design a new regulatory structure for the 21st century. The purpose of this article is to propose a policy of national telemedicine licensure. The primary goal here is not to simply develop a policy proposal, but to discuss the rationale for national licensure and place it on the policy agenda. A national licensure system will expand the market for telemedicine, promote both the use and development of new technologies, and simultaneously eliminate many of the legal and regulatory ambiguities that plague and constrain the present system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Confidentiality / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Facility Regulation and Control / organization & administration*
  • Government
  • Health Policy
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Interinstitutional Relations
  • Licensure, Medical / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Malpractice / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Marketing of Health Services
  • Needs Assessment / organization & administration*
  • State Government
  • Telemedicine / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • United States