AMA details of the plan to end public health “information”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, misinformation was of great concern. This has led to what some describe as a secondary “infodemia” that could permanently damage trust in institutions due to the large amount of misinformation spread in a rapidly changing and sensitive environment, according to a report by the AMA Board of Trustees. , adopted at the 2022 AMA Annual Meeting in Chicago.

“The public health emergency has undoubtedly worsened and prolonged due to disinformation campaigns that sowed distrust in vaccines, pharmaceutical interventions and public health mitigation measures,” the report said. “Health professionals who spread misinformation give credence to false claims.”

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“Doctors are a trusted source of information for both patients and the public, but the spread of misinformation by few has consequences for the entire profession and causes harm. Physicians have an ethical and professional responsibility to share reliable information, correct misleading and inaccurate information, and direct people to reliable sources of health information, ”said AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, Ph.D. “The AMA is committed to countering misinformation, and we need to address the root of the problem.

“We need to ensure that disinformation health professionals cannot use wide-ranging platforms, which often benefit them financially, to spread dangerous health claims,” ​​Dr. Harmon added. “While we are unlikely to undo the damage caused by disinformation campaigns during the COVID-19 pandemic, we can act now to help prevent the spread of misinformation in the future.”

The AMA House of Delegates has adopted a policy to “implement a comprehensive strategy to address health-related misinformation disseminated by health professionals”.

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Stopping misinformation, restoring trust are steps in the same journey

This strategy will include:

  • Maintain the AMA as a trusted source of evidence-based information for physicians and patients.
  • Ensure that evidence-based medical and public health information is available by engaging with publishers, research institutions and media organizations to develop best practices around paid walls and prepress to improve access to evidence-based information and analysis.
  • Tackling the misinformation disseminated by health professionals through social media platforms and tackling the monetization of the spread of misinformation on social media platforms.
  • Training health professionals and the public on how to recognize misinformation and how it spreads.
  • Given the role of health professional societies to serve as appropriate subjects for verifying the facts of health-related information disseminated by various media platforms.
  • Encourage continuing education to be available to health professionals who serve as fact-checks to prevent the dissemination of health-related information.
  • Ensure that licensing councils have the power to take disciplinary action against health professionals to disseminate health-related misinformation, and confirm that all statements in which a health professional uses his or her authority are professional conduct and can be verified by their licensing authority. .
  • Ensure that specialized councils have the right to take action against board certification for health professionals disseminating health-related misinformation.
  • Encourage state and local medical societies to engage in dispelling disinformation in their jurisdictions.

Read about other highlights from the 2022 AMA Annual Meeting.

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