What if, based on the disclosure information that we collect, we believe there is a conflict of interest? Does ACCME have any other examples of mechanisms for resolving conflict of interests that go beyond the five examples in "Identifying and Resolving Conflicts of Interest in Continuing Medical Education?"

Last Revised: 
November 11, 2011

Yes. Please keep in mind that these are only suggested mechanisms. Each provider will want to design and adopt a mechanism that works best for its structure and type of activities. The intent of the Updated Standards is that any content about products is aligned with the best interest of the physician learners and their patients.

  1. "Peer review" of CME is often already in place and is a mechanism to resolve conflict of interest: Scientific abstracts or free-standing papers or articles in enduring materials are often already peer reviewed or judged against predetermined criteria to ensure the data supports the conclusions before they are accepted for presentation or publication. When people have relationships but are presenting the abstract or paper within a peer review process, the conflict may well be resolved by that peer review process. Similarly, groups of people working together to do reviews of activity content prior to publication can resolve conflicts of interest by ensuring the content is valid and aligned with the interest of the public. Multiple levels of peer review to validate content are also effective mechanisms for resolving conflict of interest.
  2. In the presence of some form of oversight by the provider, referencing the "best available evidence" is also an important mechanism for resolving conflict of interest. Consider the situation where a person who does promotional education on a particular drug for a commercial interest is asked to analyze an important, very new, clinical trial report on that drug and present recommendations for how to use that drug in clinical practice. The content of the activity (in this case the teacher's recommendations) can be aligned with what is in the best interests of the public by the teacher referencing the best available evidence in the literature, the grade or level of that evidence and by identifying the conclusions that the evidence support. Through integrating what this best available evidence supports with what the new study has revealed the person can go on to draw conclusions or formulate recommendations. When nested within some form of peer-review or oversight process there is even external validation of the conclusions.
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