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Nov 18 2016

Better regulation through the free exchange of ideas

 Categories:  President’s Message Comments:   1 comment  Print Friendly Version  |   Share this item
In September I had the privilege of representing NCMB at the biennial meeting of the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities (IAMRA) in Sydney, Australia. IAMRA is a membership organization made up of the world's medical licensing and regulatory bodies. Its mission is to support medical boards in their efforts to protect the health and safety of the public by ensuring high professional standards in the practice of medicine. NCMB is also an active member of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), the membership organization for American medical regulatory authorities.

Although NCMB's attention is firmly, and appropriately, fixed on the specific challenges and concerns facing medical professionals in North Carolina, it's important for the Board to interact with medical regulators in other jurisdictions. First and foremost, active participation in medical regulatory groups is a way to ensure that NCMB and its licensees can benefit from knowledge accrued by others, so we don't have to constantly invent the bicycle ourselves. It's also an opportunity for NCMB - which is widely recognized as a leader in medical regulation - to share its knowledge and experience with others. I've attended cross­jurisdictional meetings from the beginning of my tenure on the Board and know from experience how stimulating it is to exchange ideas with others in regulatory medicine, even if NCMB ultimately decides to forgo ideas or policies encouraged or adopted by its peers.

One international trend NCMB 1s participating in is the increased use of health care data to identify and address needs in medicine and medical regulation - a rapidly evolving area known as risk-based regulation. Risk-based regulation was an active topic of discussion at the IAMRA meeting in Sydney, with regulators from multiple countries sharing ideas and case studies. Australian regulators, for example, shared how analysis of investigative data showed that the Australian board was taking more disciplinary actions related to substandard cosmetic surgery treatments. Australia responded by developing guidelines for cosmetic medical and surgical procedures to assist licensees with complying with current standards of care.

An example of how NCMB is applying the principles of risk-based regulation in North Carolina is the Safe Opioid Prescribing Initiative (SOPI). This program, which I've discussed in previous columns, was implemented in April and uses data provided by the NC Department of Health and Human Services to identify potentially unsafe opioid
prescribing for investigation by the Board. It's too soon to know how effective this approach will prove at reducing inappropriate opioid prescribing, but NCMB is making steady progress in reviewing cases opened through SOPI. Take a look at the summary data presented on page 6-7 of this newsletter for an overview of the initiatives progress to date. We'll continue to share information with licensees as this program evolves.

On a different note, this is my final message as Board President. It's been a pleasure and a privilege to serve. I am grateful to have had the opportunity.


Pascal O. Udekwu, MD
NCMB President

 Comments on this article:

Free exchange of ideas is noble, as well as health data sharing. Still NCMB remains entrenched against telemedicine. While physicians prefer face to face encounters, many folks are denied care due to living in remote areas of the State. Utah has a Digital Hospital in SLC for just such a need. In Rwanda, units of blood are delivered by drone. We need the freedom to practice telemedicine to ensure all citizens can receive care regardless of location in NC.

By Keith A. Raymond, MD on Nov 20, 2016 at 7:02am
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