R.I. launches online health license database

The Rhode Island Department of Health has launched an online database of health licenses that residents can search to verify licenses of doctors, dentists or other health professionals.

In the fall, the License 2000 site will allow licenses to be renewed online. And health inspection information will also be available.

The database provides access to 87,000 health profession licenses and more than 30,000 other licenses, such as for hospitals, laboratories and restaurants. Consumers can search by the facility or person's name, searching information about the license status, including disciplinary actions during the past 10 years.

Nikki Samaras Deary, chief of health profession regulation, said the department realized the need for a new system three years ago. "We realized we were buried in paper and needed to upgrade the systems," she said. After receiving software from System Automation Corp., Calverton, Md., the department spent two years combining 43 databases into one.

In addition to reducing the administrative work for employees, Deary said, the system would help keep the public informed and allow them to make better decisions about whom they choose for health care.

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