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Conflict of interest in medical education: Where do we currently stand in residency programs?

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Ross K, Iobst W, Hess BJ. — American Board of Internal Medicine

Presented: 14th Ottawa Conference, May 2010

Background: The ABIM Foundation was requested by the American Board of Internal Medicine Conflict of Interest Taskforce to explore educational venues to enhance the knowledge, skills and attitudes with conflict of interests (COI) of medical students, residents and practicing physicians. We hope to identify “best practices” in and develop a skeleton framework for COI medical education across the spectrum of a physician's career.

Summary of Work: In Spring 2009, we disseminated an online survey to program directors and senior residents of internal medicine programs to establish a baseline for what COI curriculum and assessment currently exist for trainees.

Key Results: Senior Residents were more likely to characterize unrestricted educational grants as a COI than Program Directors (62% vs.18%, p<0.01). Program Directors were more likely to state that their program accepts unrestricted educational grants than Senior Residents (80% vs. 7%, p<0.01).

Conclusions: As an assessment of the general state of COI awareness in training, the surveys suggest that training, monitoring and enforcing of COI policy is poor.

Take-Home Message: Results indicate that COI needs a stronger presence in residency curriculum and assessment. Further exploration needs to be done to learn how to better incorporate guiding principles for COI in residency programs.

For more information about this presentation, please contact Research@abim.org.