What to Consider

Licensure requirements vary from state to state and there are often gray areas. As a general rule, a physician needs to be licensed in both the state he or she and the consumer are physically located during a session.

Some states have “traveling physician exemptions” that allow providers to practice in different states as long as it is for limited purposes over a restricted period.

Do your research and make sure you always know the laws and requirements of where you are located. Practicing under the assumption that “no one will know where I am” or that “I will only be here a few days” may mean risking your licensure and livelihood.

As this industry evolves, there may be opportunities for a universal telemedicine certificate or a compact that makes it easier to provide care across state lines.

It is important to always understand and work within your scope of practice. Scope of practice includes working within the parameters of your specific discipline, understanding the laws and ethics within your discipline and geographic location, respecting the laws specific to your location and your clients, and working within their boundaries of competence.

Ask questions, seek out training, and look for guidance and supervision when faced with gray area challenges to your practice.

The American Telemedicine Association and the Center for Telehealth and e-Law provide a number of telemedicine best practice policies and guidelines that may be of use to you as a practitioner. Some of these briefs include state legislation and e-prescribing information, procedures for store and forward telemedicine, and telemental health guidelines.