American College of Physicians Releases Paper on Methods for Managing Conflicts of Interests in Clinical Guidelines

Philadelphia, August 20, 2019 -- A rigorous process for the disclosure of interests (DOI) and management of conflicts of interest (COI) is essential for developing high-quality clinical guidelines and guidance statements, the American College of Physicians (ACP) says in a new paper published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

“ACP’s comprehensive process for disclosure of interests and management of conflicts of interest is designed to be transparent, proportionate, and consistent,” said ACP President Robert M. McLean, MD, FACP. “The goals of our process are to mitigate any actual bias during the development of ACP’s clinical recommendations and to ensure credibility and public trust in our clinical policies by reducing the potential for perceived bias.”

Any individual involved in the development of ACP’s clinical guidelines and guidance statements must disclose all financial and intellectual interests related to health care from the last three years. Individuals submit disclosures at the start of participation and are required to update their disclosures over the course of their involvement with the Clinical Guidelines Committee, which develops ACP’s clinical policy papers.

A DOI-COI Review and Management Panel reviews the disclosures, flags potential sources of COI, grades the COI as “low,” “moderate,” or “high,” and manages the individual’s participation accordingly. High-level COI results in recusal from authorship, voting, and all committee discussions. Moderate-level COI results in a recusal from authorship and voting for clinically relevant topics, but permission to participate in all discussions. Low-level COI results in no role restrictions. All disclosures and COI management decisions are available publicly.

ACP recently published “The Development of Clinical Guidelines and Guidance Statements by the Clinical Guidelines Committee of the American College of Physicians” that presents ACP’s methods for developing clinical guidelines and guidance statements.

ACP is a well-recognized name in evidence-based medicine. ACP is member of the Guidelines International Network, whose mission is to lead, strengthen, and support collaboration in guideline development, Cochrane, a global leader and resource in evidence-informed health decision-making, has officially recognized ACP as a Cochrane US Network Affiliate. To receive such a designation, Affiliates must show a proven record of supporting evidence-based practice and expertise and competencies in systematic reviewing and evidenced-informed health practice and policy.

About the American College of Physicians

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 159,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


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