New AAMC guide tackles how to deal with conflicts of interest

U.S. teaching hospitals should establish policies that manage financial relationships between physicians and industry so that they do not affect patient care, according to a report by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

Many academic medical centers have conflict of interest (COI) policies that govern research and corporate relationships. But only a small number of these have adopted policies that define and address conflicts of interest in clinical care.

If you're looking for guidance, check out the AAMC's report titled "In the Interest of Patients: Recommendations for Physician Financial Relationships and Clinical Decision Making." It offers guidance on how academic medical centers, or anyone who practices medicine, can identify, evaluate, and disclose conflicts of interest in clinical care. It recommends that teaching hospitals:

  • Establish mechanisms to identify physician-industry financial relationships and evaluate their potential to bias physicians' clinical decision making.
  • Consider payments for services, royalties, and ownership when assessing individual related financial interests.
  • Set thresholds for physician reporting and institutions' evaluation of reported interests.
  • Inform patients of your physicians' industry relationships, their value, and efforts to mitigate any bias that might grow out of those relationships.

To learn more:
- read the AAMC press release
- here's the study

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