Ensuring accountability through health professional regulatory bodies: the case of conflict of interest.
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How do self-regulated health professions' regulatory bodies address financial conflict of interest (coi) and ensure accountability to the public? using document analysis, we examined how four ontario regulatory colleges (physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, audiologists/speech-language pathologists) defined coi and the education, guidance and enforcement they provided for coi-related issues. These colleges are upholding the mandates to define, identify and address financial coi by providing regulations or standards and guidelines to their membership; they differed in the amount of educational materials provided to their registrants and in the possible coi scenarios they presented. Although there were few disciplinary hearings pertaining to financial coi, findings for the hearings that did occur were documented and posted on the college public registers (the listing of all registered college members along with all relevant practice information), informing the public of any limitations or restrictions placed on a member as a result of the hearing.
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