The Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions recently announced that the national inter-professional disclosures database it has been developing is scheduled to launch in early 2013. According to information from ACEHP, the tool is designed to help all continuing healthcare education faculty, providers, and searchers manage, collect, store and share disclosure information more efficiently and economically. The heart of the project will be a central repository for cross-provider conflict-of-interest disclosure information.

“The Alliance is a broad-based member organization crisscrossing the education of all practitioners and care settings. And as a result, the National Disclosure System we have created is designed to serve as a hub that, when extended, can represent the bulk of the healthcare industry’s disclosure,” says Damon Marquis, president of the Alliance’s board of directors. The Alliance recommends that all areas of the healthcare system that conduct accredited and nonaccredited continuing healthcare education try to harmonize standards and means for reporting COI disclosures.

The idea is that standardizing disclosure and conflict-of-interest forms and creating a central place where they can be stored and accessed by all providers will eliminate the inefficiencies and redundancies involved in requiring each CE provider to collect the information from each faculty member they use for activities. Both faculty and providers have complained about the time and energy being wasted by the current system, and the Institute of Medicine also has been asking for a more streamlined, standardized way to disclose COI that won’t inhibit positive collaborations, most recently in a discussion paper called “Harmonizing Reporting on Potential Conflicts of Interest: A Common Disclosure Process for Health Care and Life Sciences.”

The NDS is being designed to comply with accrediting agency requirements, as well as with the Physician Payment Sunshine Act requirements that all drug, device, biologics, and medical supply manufacturers disclose all payments—cash or otherwise—of more than $10 to physicians and teaching hospitals. According to the Alliance, it will adapt the NDS to meet the specific reporting needs identified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services after the final rule is issued.

“The NDS can evolve to be a harmonized registry system as the IOM is recommending—a framework that will support more transparency across the healthcare system and better accuracy in reporting,” added Robin King, Alliance executive director. “Our data cuts across all of the healthcare sectors and systems that conduct both accredited and nonaccredited CME. This provides a model for how others in the industry can support harmonization and standardization in COI reporting.”