August 1, 2018

'First of its kind': California medical board will notify patients when a doctor is disciplined—via an app

Daily Briefing

    The Medical Board of California on Thursday launched a new mobile app that will send notifications to patients if a doctor's license is suspended or revoked, or when any disciplinary action is levied against the providers, Alicia Ault reports for Medscape.

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    How it works

    Ault writes that the app, which is currently available for Apple iOS and soon will also be available for Android OS, allows users to "follow" and receive push notifications on up to 16 physicians at one time. Users can search for specific physicians by name or license number.

    Users then will receive a notification on their phones if a doctor they follow has a license that expires, if the address of the provider's practice changes, or if some disciplinary action is taken against the physician. The app has the ability to receive updated data two to three times a day, depending on users' preferred settings for the app.

    According to Kimberly Kirchmeyer, executive director of the medical board, users of the app will receive notices of disciplinary actions, license revocations, and suspensions long before the actions take effect. "This app is going to be sending out information on the ordered date, so that actually in some instances will occur up to 30 days prior," to the action, she said. "So even if there's no change to the license for 30 days, it's going to notify you," which is the "best part about this application," Kirchmeyer said.

    Sean Eichelkraut, an information systems branch manager for the board who developed the app, said new licensing information will be sent to users' phones "within minutes to within an eight-hour period."

    According to Denise Pines, VP of the medical board, this app is "[t]he first of its kind," and is "an innovative new tool that will revolutionize the way consumers receive and use information from the board about their doctor so that they can make informed decisions about their care."

    Pines added, "The Medical Board of California's mission is consumer protection. And this mobile app takes this mission to the next level" (Ault, Medscape, 7/27; Holzer, Sacramento Bee, 7/26; Medical Board of California release, 7/26).

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