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Brian Choi, MD, Publishes Article on Clinical Guidelines and Author Self-Disclosure

A new study published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes by Brian Choi, MD, MBA, co-director of advanced cardiac imaging and professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and colleagues, examined potential conflicts of interest facing authors of clinical guidelines, finding a “concerning” level of discrepancies in author guideline disclosures.

The researchers, including first author Ramzi Dudum, MD ’17, a resident physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital, took disclosures of industry relationships from author of guidelines endorsed by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Heart Association (AHA) and compared them with payments reported by industry in Open Payments to the same authors.

In the 696 relationships between author and company, reported in either the documents or Open Payments, only 8.9% were reported by both sources, according to the article. Of the 81 physician authors, 65 had self-reported or Open Payments disclosures. Thirty-two of those had data in Open Payments, but didn’t have correlating information in the respective ACC/AHA document.

“In these findings, we discovered a significant discrepancy between guideline author disclosures and industry-reported payments,” Choi said. “It’s imperative authors review Open Payments data and rectify any discrepancies and inaccuracies that may occur.”

The discrepancies, according to the report, are due to a lack of congruent reporting methods between journals, professional organizations, and the Open Payments database; varying guideline development duration leading to some relationships that are outside of the presumed disclosure window; and possible underreporting or over reporting, among other issues. 

“Author disclosures infrequently agreed with company-reported payments, and when they did agree, there were mismatches in the magnitude of the relationship,” the report noted.

The paper, “Analysis of American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Guideline Author Self-Disclosure Compared with Open Payments Industry Disclosure,” was published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes in December 2019. 

To access the paper, visit ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.119.005613.