Cleveland Clinic Makes Physician Disclosures Available Online

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As part of its continued commitment to transparency, Cleveland Clinic is implementing several measures to enhance patient and consumer access to timely information about their doctors' professional background, as well as the patients' own medical records.

Recently, Cleveland Clinic posted on its website a current directory of all its physicians, listing their educational and professional backgrounds, their medical specializations and their relationships with industry. To access the information on the Clinic's website, click on "find a doctor" and fill in a physician's last name.

Included for each physician, scientist and physician/scientist will be a list of the names of companies with which they have collaborations, further identifying whether they have equity, the right to royalties, a fiduciary position or a consulting relationship that pays $5,000 or more per year. Cleveland Clinic has a rigorous process by which it identifies, evaluates, limits, eliminates, or manages potential conflicts of interest. That process is handled by the institutions Innovation Management and Conflict of Interest Committee.

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Cleveland Clinic physicians and researchers must submit for approval all industry relationships pursuant to Cleveland Clinic's conflict of interest process and as part of Cleveland Clinic's commitment to innovation through collaboration.

"We want our patients to have abundant information about our physicians and let them decide what's relevant to their situations. As far as we are aware, Cleveland Clinic will be the first academic medical center in the U.S. to disclose to its patients and the public the industry ties of its physicians," said Joseph Hahn, M.D., Chief of Staff, Cleveland Clinic.

In addition, with limited exceptions, Cleveland Clinic is making patient medical records more readily available to patients who request to review their own records during their hospital stay.

"Giving patients access to timely information that may be relevant to their individual circumstances is essential to achieving a positive patient experience," said Delos M. "Toby" Cosgrove, M.D., President and CEO, Cleveland Clinic. "Patients today value the availability of data and information they can use in making informed decisions about their healthcare. Cleveland Clinic is doing its part to ensure patients have access to the information they deem necessary."

The enhanced physician directory and related disclosures and the open medical records policy are an affirmation of Cleveland Clinic's commitment to transparency and Patients First, the principles at the heart of Cleveland Clinic's medical care and operations. To date, Cleveland Clinic has sought to expand its transparency by revamping its web site and annually publishing outcomes books detailing the performance of clinical programs throughout the institution.

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