Thursday, August 29, 2019

Understanding Health Care Licensing and Certifications

You’ve probably used the same doctor for years and would happily recommend them to your family and friends. In fact, recent research suggests that this can actually reduce your risk of death!

While this is potentially great news, have you ever stopped to consider whether your doctor is licensed, certified, or both? You may assume they are licensed, and they certainly should be. But, assuming something is not the same as checking it.

Licensing Vs. Certification

To become a physician you need to spend years studying to earn a degree in medicine and your specific field of interest. You’ll also need to get the relevant experience and you must have a health care license.

This is obligatory and issued by the state, not by a medical board such as AMA.

Licenses are issued for a set period of time, although renewal can require very little effort.
In contrast, certification is voluntary. This simply confirms your skillset and will improve the credibility of any doctor. In fact, having a certificate will confirm to your consumers that you take your profession seriously and are good at what you do.

The Issue

The problem is that you can study and get a license, but this doesn’t make you a good doctor or that you really know what you’re doing in a practical situation.

The licensing board doesn’t have the time or enough people to check the practices of every doctor. In reality, they will only react to incidents, which is when they’ll want to check licenses and may even terminate a doctor’s license to practice.

This leads to the problem that a doctor can keep practicing even though they are not that good at what they do.

In addition, unless you are involved with a malpractice case, or it is high profile, then you’re unlikely to know what is happening to a specific doctor. It is relatively easy for them to move and continuing practicing without many of their patients knowing.

The Solution

Fortunately, hospitals are keen to monitor the doctors in their care and can find a life sciences aggregate spend solution that is acceptable to their budget and time available. This monitors all the relevant information regarding any physician and their practices/medical experiences so far.

The great news is that it’s not just medical professionals that can access this information. Any doctor or consumer can also take a look.

For a patient, this means the ability to verify that the doctor is properly licensed and qualified. The doctor can also use the service to ensure that their record is accurate and reflects their commitment, level of service, and care.

Data has become extremely easy to store and access, which means that it can be used to improve the services offered and verify licensing or certification.

Of course, as this area grows there will be more onus on you to verify the level of treatment you’re going to get.

Don’t forget, any doctor found running an unlicensed practice can face criminal charges. By using data and verifying the competency of your chosen doctor you’ll actually help to reduce the number of unlicensed doctors able to practice.

This is a guest blog entry.

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