News Stream

FSMB: “Practice drift” may require board monitoring and response

fsmb-logoIncreasing numbers of physicians have been changing or expanding their areas of practice, due to various economic and cultural pressures, the Federation of State Medical Boards said in an April policy statement. The "practice drift" trend means that—even though physician licenses allow them to practice the full breadth of medicine—boards may need new approaches to ensure that licensees can practice competently within their chosen area of practice.

FSMB’s new policy position recommends:

• Monitoring Where it is feasible, state medical boards can monitor physicians’ insurance billing patterns and medical records to determine whether practice areas have shifted to include non-traditional procedures or whether harms may have resulted from the performance of procedures in the absence of adequate qualifications or training.

• Patient awareness of credentials Patients should be encouraged to ask physicians about their qualifications to perform particular procedures, and to consult the FSMB’s DocInfo website for specific information about physicians’ education, board certification and disciplinary actions. Physicians should also supply information about their qualifications to patients as part of the informed consent process.

• Information collecting Boards should collect information about licensees’ areas of practice as part of the license renewal process. The FSMB provides recommendations for categories of information to collect, and formatting, in its Report on a Recommended Framework for a Minimal Physician Data Set.