After taking on continuing medical education and medical research, the Association of American Medical Colleges is now tackling conflicts of interest related to clinical care with its latest report, “In the Interest of Patients: Recommendations for Physician Financial Relationships and Clinical Decision Making” (46-page PDF). If you’re just looking for the Big Recommendations, the most salient of which are paraphrased below, fast forward to pages 24 and 25. Warning: They’re vague.
- Medical centers should compensate doctors in a way that promotes the patients’ best interests.
- Professional medical societies and medical institutions (such as teaching hospitals) need to take a long, hard look at their own relationships with the industry.
- Institutions should identify their physicians’ industry relationships, set thresholds for their disclosure, and identify situations in which disclosures should be made directly to the patient. These regulations should all have teeth.
- Centers and physicians should work with patients to figure out how best to disclose industry ties.
The AAMC committee that produced the report wrote that, while they focused on academic medicine, their recommendations could (and should) be applied to all of clinical medicine.