Telemedicine licensure in the United States: the need for a cooperative regional approach

Telemed J E Health. 2007 Apr;13(2):141-7. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2006.0029.


The extraordinary successes and refinement of modern telemedicine applications in recent years have been diminished somewhat by the anachronistic licensure laws of the 50 state jurisdictions that limit the practice of medicine to specific state geographic boundaries. This approach is deficient when applied to telemedicine because, with the advent of the Internet and modern technological advances, differences in space and time are rendered nearly meaningless. It is recommended in this paper that the practice of telemedicine be handled differently than the practice of face-to-face medicine, as related to licensure. Although it may be argued persuasively that a national licensure model for telemedicine should be advanced, the political and constitutional hurdles may be too great to overcome. It is therefore recommended that a voluntary, regional geographic approach be instituted by jurisdictions already demonstrating a commonality of interests, such as through the Southern Governors' Association or the Western Governors' Association. The benefits to be derived from this approach would include improving access to healthcare and medical specialists, enhancing the quality and timeliness of care, cutting medical costs by moving information instead of people, securing patients' access to medical records and information, and facilitating commercial export of American telemedicine services.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Law Enforcement
  • Licensure, Medical / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Licensure, Medical / standards
  • Politics
  • Regional Health Planning / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Regional Health Planning / organization & administration*
  • Telemedicine / economics
  • Telemedicine / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Telemedicine / standards
  • United States