Telemedicine, medical marijuana, and the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact are among the top regulatory issues with which boards are grappling.
Telemedicine is currently the most important medical regulatory topic to state medical boards, according to the Federation of State Medical Boards' 2016 State Medical Board Survey.
The 2016 survey was completed by 57 of the 70 state medical and osteopathic boards in the United States and its territories. Participants were asked to choose the five most important topics from a list of 15.
Seventy-five percent of the boards chose telemedicine as one of the most important topics to them, making it the topic impacting the largest number of boards, according to the FSMB.
Behind telemedicine, the following topics rounded out the top five:
2. Resources related to opioid prescribing, named by 70% of participants.
3. The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC), named by 47% of participants.
4. Physician reentry into practice, named by 44%.
5. Medical marijuana, named by 42%.
Other notable issues were physician burnout (30%), continuing medical education, and regulatory compliance (21%).
Boards are taking action on the topics that participants identified in the survey, according to the FSMB. On the telemedicine front, Massachusetts last month launched one of the first statewide initiatives to coordinate digital health in the service of population health.
Physician reentry is emerging as an issue as the nation's practitioners age. The American Medical Association cites research showing that as many as 10,000 physicians reenter practice each year.
The IMLC is moving forward and gaining importance for state medical boards as well. Just over a year ago, 11 states had passed legislation to make it easier for physicians to obtain licensure in multiple states. Today, 18 states have done so.
The FSMB uses the survey to identify the topics of greatest importance to its members and to develop resources and tools medical boards can use to address these issues.
Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.