My dream is far more modest than Dr. King’s but possibly just as ambitious. I have a dream that one day there will be a single, comprehensive repository of medical disclosures and conflicts of interest.
Our editorial policy is to include a statement about a researcher’s or physician’s potential conflicts of interest—even if it’s only to say that he or she has none. As a reporter, it makes my life….difficult. Presenters don’t always include this information in their talks. If they do, it’s in a slide that is visible for 0.4 seconds. So I have to track it down. Don’t get me wrong. I agree whole-heartedly that it is in everyone’s best interest to have this information. But I sure could do without all of the web searches and phone calls and, ultimately, wasted time.
I wonder if such a database—kind of like NIH’s Clinical Trials database—is possible to create, populate, and administrate? Who would do it and how could you compel researchers and physicians to include and update their information?
What do you think? Is it possible or am I just dreaming?
—Kerri Wachter, @knwachter on Twitter