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Managing Conflicts of Interest: Building Trust and Improving Outcomes

J Limmer1*, M Svatos2*, K Osterman3*, (1) Texas Oncology - Houston, The Woodlands, TX, (2) Dorrington, CA, (3) NYU Medical Center, New York, NY


(Wednesday, 7/17/2019) 10:15 AM - 11:15 AM

Room: 302

AAPM as a professional organization requires that its members “must strive to be impartial in all professional interactions, and must disclose and formally manage any real, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest.� Conflicts of interest arise in situations where a member is in a fiduciary relationship with others, or when a member’s financial or professional self-interest differs, or appears to differ, from the values of the organization they represent (such as the AAPM).

This presentation discusses the challenges in identifying and managing conflicts of interest when engaging in research and development, including when this has ties in industry. All scientists naturally have vested interests, and learning to inventory them is a key to management. When interests conflict, biases in judgement occur, which if not properly identified and managed, lead to studies that fail to reproduce, and lack of translational success. Thus, in the longer term, the concern with conflicts of interest in research and development arises not only because of the possibility that such conflicts may erode objectivity and engender the loss of public trust, but also because bias in research can significantly skew scientific progress. Conflicts arising in areas such as funding, incentives, and translation to product for clinical use are discussed in the first part of this session.

In the second part, conflicts of interest arising in situations in which one’s position of trust with a party is actually, or potentially, compromised by virtue of relationships with other parties and/or by self-interest are explored. This presentation focuses on the environment of clinical practice where motivations other than financial ones may present conflicts of interest. Such motivations are more difficult to identify, much less evaluate, than financial conflicts and hence less likely to be amenable to direct regulations. Resource allocation, patient prioritization, and clinical research are some areas where conflicts of interest may arise in clinical practice.

Both presentations discuss best practices for identifying and minimizing bias and other conflicts of interest. Practical scenarios in each environment are presented and analyzed.

Learning objectives:
1. Attendees will learn how to identify actual or potential conflicts of interest in research and development.
2. Attendees will learn how to identify actual or potential conflicts of interest in clinical practice.
3. Attendees will be exposed to models for managing conflicts of interest.
4. Attendees will be exposed to the analysis of realistic scenarios where conflicts of interest were present.



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