AMA upbraids cynics of data-mining option

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Assertions that challenge the American Medical Association's commitment to its data-mining alternative are “unfounded speculation that ignores the facts,” said AMA president Dr. Peter Carmel.

AMA has an “ongoing multi-year campaign” to promote its Physician Data Restriction Program, Carmel reminded InformationWeek Healthcare.

He was responding to a NEJM commentary saying that the group's conflicting interests have undermined the PDRP. The opt-out program has been advertised in journals, and AMA has sent information to half a million physicians in each of the past three years.

As to why only 28,000 (or 4% of physicians) have signed up, “perhaps [it's] because the AMA's financial interests cut against strongly promoting the program,” authors Michelle Mello, of Harvard School of Public Health, and Noah Messing, of Yale Law School, wrote in a NEJM commentary.

They added, as part of an article reviewing the reasoning behind Supreme Court's decision to strike down a Vermont data-mining law: “The AMA realizes substantial revenue from the sale of physicians' professional data, and widespread physician opt-out would reduce the usefulness of the data to [data-mining firms].”

Critics prefer to “hurl reckless accusations at the AMA than admit that physician awareness” has had little impact on enrollment, responded Carmel.

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