The College recognizes the importance of the health care industry
representative and the benefits that the relationship between
these individuals and the surgeon can provide patients.
determination and therefore
should be informed if an industry
representative will be in the OR.
One of the challenges is timing.
Informing the patient on the day
of surgery in the preparation
area may make it difficult for the
patient to refuse. In addition, to
preserve the patient’s privacy,
the industry representative
should not enter the OR until
the patient is fully draped.
The introduction of new
surgical equipment and
technology also can benefit
the patient. Surgeons usually
are introduced to new devices
and technology by industry
sales representatives. Even
when the surgeon has become
proficient in the use of the
new equipment or technology,
the industry representative
may be needed in the OR to
help troubleshoot unexpected
difficulties. The policies or
guidelines of each hospital
will facilitate the interaction
between the surgeon and the
industry representative without
disrupting patient privacy and
safety. This interaction should
be transparent and organized.
Another mechanism by which
surgeons become familiar with
new equipment and technology
is through Continuing Medical
Education (CME) programs.
However, some of the current
regulations have made contacts
between industry and the CME-
sponsoring organization onerous,
which has caused both parties to
shy away from such interaction.
It has been suggested that the
ACS and other professional
education organizations look
for mechanisms that will
avoid conflict of interest, real
or perceived, which would
allow industry to support CME
activities for the advancement
of surgical care. It also was
suggested that the industry
breakfast that brought industry
representatives and surgical
leadership together at the
annual Clinical Congress in
the past be reinstituted.
Some of the suggestions and/or
guidelines discussed at the Town
Hall meeting and incorporated
into the College’s policy statement
include the following:
• Industry representatives should
not have access to private patient
or surgeon information (such as
access to the full OR schedule).
•Invited industry representatives
should make an appointment
and not just show up in the OR.
•Many hospitals have “industry
fairs,” where industry
representatives can demonstrate
their equipment and devices
in an area outside the OR.
•Surgeons who participated in
the Town Hall meeting were
of the opinion that industry
representatives should not have
access to the surgeons’ lounge.
•Industry representatives should
be registered, verified, and
distinctively identifiable. In
many hospitals, the industry
representatives wear different
colored caps or scrubs.
•Some hospitals include in
their informed consent
forms for surgery that an
industry representative may
be present in the OR at the
The College recognizes the
importance of the health care
industry representative and the
benefits that the relationship
between these individuals and
the surgeon can provide patients,
and the revised statement on this
topic provides guidelines on how
to structure the relationship. ♦
OCT 2016 BULLETIN American College of Surgeons