Published 10/1/2011
Richard N. Peterson, JD; Donna Malert

Have you disclosed in the AAOS Orthopaedic Disclosure Program?

It’s easier than ever to meet disclosure requirements

AAOS developed the AAOS Orthopaedic Disclosure Program to promote transparency of potential conflicts of interest for volunteers who are involved in continuing medical education (CME) activities and governance groups for the AAOS. Modifications to the program, rolled out in 2010, have made disclosure an even easier process for orthopaedic surgeons and others.

Who must disclose
In December 2009, the AAOS Board of Directors adopted recommendations to enhance the AAOS Mandatory Disclosure Policy and the AAOS Orthopaedic Disclosure Program. The current AAOS policy requires the following members to complete the AAOS mandatory disclosure information:

  • all members involved in organizational governance
  • all members involved in guidelines development
  • CME faculty members
  • authors of enduring materials
  • editors-in-chief and editorial board members

The AAOS Orthopaedic Disclosure Program serves as a central repository of current information about relevant commercial relationships for orthopaedic surgeons and other healthcare professionals who are involved in AAOS governance and CME activities. Under the Disclosure Policy, this information must be reviewed and updated by individuals at least semiannually (usually in April and October). To further promote transparency for conflicts of interest, disclosure information in the AAOS Orthopaedic Disclosure program is available to the public on the AAOS website.

The Committee on Outside Interests (COI), established in March 2010, oversees conflicts-of-interest issues and makes recommendations to the Board of Directors for approval. The COI recently developed protocols for managing conflicts-of-interest matters at governance meetings as well as recommendations on steps to take if individuals have made inaccurate disclosures or have not disclosed as required. The COI also oversees the policies and operations of the AAOS Orthopaedic Disclosure Program.

Anyone can disclose
Since the enhanced AAOS Ortho-paedic Disclosure Program debuted last year, more than 16,300 individuals have provided disclosure information (
Fig. 1). Of these, more than 6,800 are AAOS members. The remaining 9,500 individuals are primarily non-AAOS members who are involved in the education program for the AAOS Annual Meeting.

If you have disclosed in the AAOS Orthopaedic Disclosure Program, you will soon be receiving a reminder to review and update your information. However, participants should note any changes to their disclosure information as soon as possible after they occur. Participation in the program by all orthopaedic surgeons is encouraged.

The AAOS Orthopaedic Disclosure Program is a work in progress. Such transparency is necessary to ensure the development of fair and balanced educational content in CME courses and other AAOS materials. Transparency in governance assures Fellows that AAOS decisions can withstand public scrutiny.

Richard N. Peterson, JD, is the AAOS general counsel; he can be reached at peterson@aaos.org

Donna Malert is executive assistant to the AAOS Board of Directors; she can be reached at malert@aaos.org