Frequently Asked Questions - iOS App

Where can I get the app?

The app is available on Apple’s App Store. Simply search for “Medical Board of California” to find the app and download it.

What can I do with the app?

The app allows consumers to “Follow” up to 16 doctors and receive notifications whenever the license of a doctor in their “Following” list has been updated. This includes, but is not limited to, whenever the doctor’s license status has changed, the doctor has changed their address or has added a specialty, or when the Medical Board of California (Board) has uploaded a disciplinary action document on the doctor’s profile page.

How do I start receiving notifications?

When opening the app for the first time, the app will ask for permission to send notifications. Simply allow the app to send the alerts. If you declined the app permission to send notifications, but have since changed your mind and want to start receiving them, simply open the iPhone settings, tap on Notifications, tap on Med Board CA, and tap on Allow Notifications. It should be noted that the app will not send alerts when there has been a change to your doctor’s license if the notifications are not enabled.

Do I have to have the app open to receive notifications?

The app must be open and/or running in the background of your device in order for you to receive notifications when your doctor’s license has been updated. If you close the app, and it has been over 15 minutes since you last used it, the app will check for changes once re-opened and, if changes are detected, will send you notifications.

How do I create a “Following” list?

Open the app on your Apple device and tap the blue stack of licenses icon on the upper right portion of the screen. A blank “Following” list opens when using the app for the first time. To add a doctor to the list, tap on the magnifying glass icon in the upper right portion of the screen then search for a doctor using the search criteria provided, e.g. doctor last and first name. After the search results are provided tap on the “More Details” button that appears under the doctor you would like to follow. You will be taken to the doctor’s profile page, tap on the “Follow” link in the upper right portion of the screen to add the doctor. Enter a description for the doctor to customize the doctor’s description in the “Following” list (e.g. Sally’s doctor) and tap on Follow.” The doctor’s name, license number, and the custom description provided will appear on your “Following” list.

How do I access my “Following” list?

To access your “Following” list, tap the app to open it and then tap the blue stack of licenses icon that appears in the upper right hand corner of the screen.

How many doctors can I follow?

The app will allow you to follow up to 16 doctors.

How do I remove a doctor from my “Following” list?

To remove a doctor from your “Following” list, simply swipe the doctor’s name to the left and tap the red “Unfollow” button that appears on the right.

How do I edit the doctor’s description on the “Following” list?

To edit a doctor’s description in your “Following” list, swipe the doctor’s name to the right and tap on the “Edit” button that appears. Enter a new description for the doctor and tap “Save.”

How much is the app?

The app is free to download and use (cellular data rates may apply).

How much space does the app take on my phone?

The app is relatively small and only takes up ~14 mb of space.

Why is the app only for iOS?

The Board estimates that 30 percent of its website traffic comes from mobile devices. Of those devices, approximately 70 percent are iPhones and iPads, making development of the app for Apple devices the logical first choice.

Are there any plans to develop an Android version of the app?

The Board plans to develop an Android version of the app in the near future.

What are the system requirements of the app and will the app work on any iPhone device?

You must be running 11.0 or above of Apple’s iOS software on your iPhone. The app will work with iPhone versions 5s and above and iPad versions dating back to the iPad Air Mini 2.

How is the app different from opening up the Board’s website on the phone’s web browser?

In addition to empowering consumers to create “Following” lists and receive notifications when there has been a change on their doctor’s license, the app takes the information from the Board’s website and makes it more mobile-friendly. The app strips out the header information on the website and presents the data in a more streamlined, tabbed layout.

What are some features of the app?

At this time, the Board’s development team is interested in feedback from the app’s users to build new features. The Board encourages everyone to download the app and provide feedback.

How often will I receive notifications?

Notifications are only delivered when notifications are enabled, the app is running in the background, and a change is detected on a license in the “Following” list. Most licenses do not update frequently. The most common type of update will be License Expiration Updated, when a doctor renews his/her license. Renewals only happen every two (2) years, so based on when a license is “followed,” it could take a significant amount of time for the app to generate a notification to occur. However, should other changes occur, they will be sent to the device.
Once the app is installed, there is a “settling in” period where the background data fetches do not run for approximately 24 hours. From that point forward, it will check according to Apple’s Optimistic Background Fetch algorithms. Typically the fetches will then run, based on the phone usage and other factors, but approximately 2-3 times a day when running in the background.

What happened to the notification that I saw on my lock screen?

Tapping on a delivered notification from your lock screen will automatically launch the app and loads the profile indicated in the notification. The notification type will be displayed in the header when viewing the profile.
If you did not tap the notification but just opened/unlocked your phone, the notification then moves to Apple’s Notification Center with all the other notifications enabled on the device. To access Apple’s Notification Center, swipe down from the top of the screen to “pull down” the Notification Center. Notifications are listed in reverse chronological order. Tapping on a notification in the Notification Center automatically launches the app and loads the profile indicated in the notification. Once viewed, notifications are removed from the Notification Center. You will not be able to retrieve the notification again once it has been removed.

What is the number in the red circle on the app icon?

This is called a “badge” and it lets the user know how many delivered notifications are waiting to be reviewed in Apple’s Notification Center. Swipe down from the top of the screen to “pull down” the Notification Center and look for the notifications.

Should I “force close” the app?

“Force Close” is the action of double tapping the home button (most common on iPhones) or swiping up (most common on iPads) to reveal the apps in the background in “standby mode” and swiping up to shut down specific apps. According to Apple, “You should force an app to close only when it’s unresponsive.” “Force Closing” the app will prevent it from being able to perform the background fetches necessary for notifications. If you need to “force close” the app for any reason, please be sure to restart it to allow the background fetches to continue.

Why am I receiving multiple notifications at the same time for the same license?

You will receive a notification for any notification condition detected (Address Updated, License Status Updated, Name Updated, Expiration Date Updated, Public Document(s) Updated, Survey Updated, and Public Record Action(s) Updated). It is possible for multiple conditions to occur at once. For example, when a license renews, it is possible for the licensee to have their status updated (License Status Updated) from Delinquent to Current (if their previous expiration date passed), Expiration Date Updated (extended by renewal), Address Updated (if necessary), and Survey Updated (if responses differ from prior survey response). In some cases, only the Expiration Date Updated may happen if the other conditions do not apply. The goal is to ensure users are informed of all notification conditions detected. When viewing license profiles from a notification, the notification type is shown in the header of the license profile to let the user know the specific condition detected.

I do not have internet access; is the app the only way to look up a doctor’s license?

No, a consumer can also find this information on the Board’s website at www.mbc.ca.gov, by calling the Board at 1-800-633-2322, or by emailing webmaster@mbc.ca.gov.

How is my privacy protected and what information does this app collect?

User privacy is protected by storing and processing all information locally on the device. The licenses “Followed” and the descriptive names provided are only stored on the device and not tracked on Board servers. Requests for license data from the Department of Consumer Affairs’ (DCA) Search system do not include any personally identifying information. App downloads and usage statistics are tracked by Apple but on an aggregate level, not specific to individual users. The app does not have access to any other data on the device including contacts, location, calendars, social media accounts, messages, or email.

Can licensees tell if they are being followed or who is following them?

No, the “Follow” function is one-sided unlike other social media platforms with “Following” relationships. Licensees cannot tell if they are being followed or who may be following them.

How current is the information provided in the app?

The information provided in the app is in sync with the Board’s website.

If I have trouble using the app, where do I go for help? How do I contact the Board for support?

Please contact the webmaster@mbc.ca.gov or call the Board’s Consumer Information Unit at (800) 633-2322 for assistance.