Published 5/1/2010

It’s time to update disclosures

Disclosing conflicts of interest has become an integral part of the practice of medicine. The new, improved AAOS Orthopaedic Disclosure Program made its debut at the AAOS 2010 Annual Meeting. If you didn’t have the opportunity to try it out in New Orleans, now is your chance.

Under the AAOS mandatory disclosure policy, orthopaedic surgeons and others involved in AAOS organizational governance, publications, educational materials and programming, and clinical practice guidelines and technology overviews must disclose all orthopaedic-related commercial relationships occurring within the past 12 months. The new, improved AAOS Orthopaedic Disclosure Program makes it simple and easy to meet that requirement.

Regular updates required
Recently, a reminder was sent to all AAOS Fellows covered by the disclosure program. Those who have previously disclosed will have access to that information when re-entering their disclosure information into the new program. Those who have never disclosed before will find that the disclosure program has been redesigned to make it easier to use, and clarifying language has been added to ensure that participants understand the precise meaning of terms such as “immediate family,” “royalties,” and “principal investigator.”

A “yes” to any of the 11 questions will trigger a detailed information page pop-up when the participant clicks the “submit” button. At that point, the participant can choose from a series of options or enter specific information.

Under clarified guidelines from the Accreditation Council on Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), faculty, authors, program developers, and CME planners must list any conflict, regardless of the content of the activity. Industry support for institutions or departmental research, however, must only be reported if the participant is the “principal investigator.” This clarified policy will alleviate many concerns expressed about the previous disclosure system.

Mandated and voluntary participation
Participation in the new disclosure program is mandatory for orthopaedic surgeons involved in all AAOS organizational governance (including members of the Board of Councilors and Board of Specialty Societies), as well as for CME faculty, authors of enduring materials, and participants in guidelines development. Members of the AAOS Board of Directors, Guideline Development Workgroups, and the editors-in-chief and deputy editors of the Journal of the AAOS, Orthopaedic Knowledge Online, Your Orthopaedic Connection, and AAOS Now—are also required to disclose certain financial information associated with relationships that may create potential conflicts of interest.

Participation in the disclosure program is not required to become an AAOS Fellow. Voluntary participation by all orthopaedic surgeons in the disclosure program is, however, encouraged. Likewise, use of the disclosure program by orthopaedic specialty societies and state orthopaedic societies is also encouraged.

Under the new program, unlike under previous disclosure programs, the AAOS will provide public access to the information contained in the program.

For more information visit the AAOS Disclosure Program, or see the article in the February issue of AAOS Now.