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Some physicians offer online consultations to patients who reside abroad. In these cases do patients have an opportunity to verify the identity of the physician? Some information is not intended for disclosure. Do documents proving a physician's education or affiliation with an employing institution belong to this category?

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  • I'm not aware of such a right. But try the state's registration and licensing board - the equivalent of the UK's GMC: gmc-uk.org/registration-and-licensing/the-medical-register. You should be able to find out when and where they qualified and whether they are currently licensed to practice. – Lag May 26 '20 at 10:16
  • @Lag shouldn't this extend to any licensing authority? Any claim of a license to practice should include the information which shows licensing authority issued the license. – grovkin May 26 '20 at 18:56
  • @Lag, thank you. But the records in the database you refer to cannot store a form of identification data, such as SSN. Is it not possible to use any name from this register and claim it's your own? I do not argue documents cannot be falsified, I just reflect on your suggestions. – Noir May 30 '20 at 17:04
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In the US, you have the ability to determine basic licensing, certifications and background information here. You may also be able to obtain such information from the individual state licensing board, but the information provided is not necessarily the same (e.g. my test search for Washington did not include specialization credentials or education but did include birthday; searching in another state where the individual is licensed provided extensive information about past medical education).

To some extent, you have the right to access public records information, which might include an indication of medical education, but that information will vary by state. There is no right to demand proof of identification, for example if you go to a location purporting to be the office of Dr. X, you cannot (legally) demand that they provide you with a particular proof-of-identity or proof-of-licensure (unless in some state there is a requirement to prominently display a copy of the medical license). In the case of in-person medical interactions, the premise is that with due diligence, you can verify that the person standing before you is Dr. X who is a licensed physician – but that is not foolproof (indeed, no proof-of-identity requirement is foolproof). In the case of an online service, the possibilities for shenanigans are significantly increased. It really depends on the contract between you and the service provider, whether you can demand certain information or documents. It may be that you can verify an organization claiming to connect you with real doctors with American Telemedicine Association, but a former search page is now missing: online medicine is very much caveat emptor.

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  • Thank you for participation. If it’s not too much trouble, can you not explain how information provided by licensing boards can be useful to a patient? If all he has the right to know about a practitioner is his name, how can a patient identify a practitioner with an owner of a license owned by a person with an identical name? – Noir May 31 '20 at 6:28
  • fingerprints or retinal scan? – George White Oct 27 '20 at 20:38
  • Well, my state doesn't do fingerprints or retinal scans, so there is always the possibility that he's an imposter. – user6726 Oct 27 '20 at 20:50

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