Health & Medicine

New app will alert patients to changes in medical providers’ licenses in California

The Medical Board of California on Thursday announced the launch of the first license alert app.

“The Medical Board of California’s mission is consumer protection,” said Denise Pines, the board’s vice president. “And this mobile app takes this mission to the next level.”

Before, patients used a search tool posted on the Medical Board of California’s website to find out if any changes had been made to their provider’s medical license. Now, the app will directly notify users when changes are made.

“The app will do the checking for them,” said Kimberly Kirchmeyer, the board’s executive director.

The app will also inform patients quicker than the board was previously able to do.

A decision made to discipline a medical professional might take up to 30 days to go into effect. Once effective, the board emails out subscriber alerts.

“Now, as soon as that individual is suspended and it goes onto the app, it’s going to come directly to the patient,” Kirchmeyer said.

For example, if a doctor’s license is suspended, users could receive a notification within minutes or up to eight hours after the suspension decision is made.

Using a provider’s name or license number, users can search for and then follow up to 16 providers. Board officials predicted users might choose to follow their personal medical providers as well as their family’s providers.

The app will send notifications about any changes to the licenses of the providers a user has chosen to follow.

According to the board’s website, users “receive notifications when a doctor’s name, address, practice status, license expiration, or survey data changes, and when administrative actions and enforcement documents are added to a doctor’s profile.”

The app is currently only available for Apple products, but developers from the board have planned to launch a version for Android next year.

Once the app is downloaded, a 24-hour period is required until users can begin to receive notifications.

Videos posted on the board’s website explain how to use the app, and once downloaded the application does have a built-in tutorial for first-time users.