Surgeons' perceptions on industry relations: A survey of 822 surgeons

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Abstract

Background.

The relationships between industry and medical professionals are controversial. The purpose of our study was to evaluate surgeons' current opinions regarding the industry-surgery partnership, in addition to self-reported industry ties.

Methods.

After institutional review board approval, a survey was sent via RedCap to 3,782 surgeons across the United States. Univariate and multivariable regression analyses were performed to evaluate the responses.

Results.

The response rate was 23%. From the 822 responders, 226 (27%) reported at least one current relationship with industry, while 297 (36.1%) had at least one such relationship within the past 3 years. There was no difference between general surgery versus other surgical specialties (P = .5). Among the general surgery subspecialties, respondents in minimally invasive surgery/foregut had greater ties to industry compared to other subspecialties (P = .001). In addition, midcareer surgeons, male sex, and being on a reviewer/editorial board were associated with having industry ties (P < .05). Most surgeons (71%) believed that the relationships with industry are important for innovation.

Conclusion.

Our study showed that relationships between surgeons and industry are common, because more than a quarter of our responders reported at least one current relationship. Industry relations are perceived as necessary for operative innovation.

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