Should Industry Representatives Be Allowed in the Wound Clinic? Protection Status
Blog Category: 
industry representative meeting with physician

by Thomas E. Serena MD, FACS, FACHM, FAPWCA

This blog comes to you written from the deck of the Independence of the Seas on the 2016 Wound Cruise. The conference on the ocean draws the best speakers in the world for obvious reasons. But like many educational events, some of the best discussions occur outside the conference area. A cold beer in my hand I posed the question to my sandal-donned colleagues: Should we allow industry representatives in the wound clinic?

I had recently been asked by one of our hospital partners to draft a policy on the matter. As expected, the opinions varied. Clinicians complained about disruption of the flow in the wound clinic when industry reps were present. One of the nurse practitioners said she enjoyed the new product information the reps provided. The lunches provided by the reps received mixed reviews ranging from too many carbohydrates to a nice break for the staff. There was some confusion around whether the cost of the lunch should be reported under the Sunshine Act. I added that most of the evidence in our burgeoning specialty of wound care has come from our industry partners. At the end of the happy hour there was no clear cut consensus and we sailed homeward.

Defining Policies: Where Physicians and Industry Meet

Jim Wilcox and I eventually drafted the policy in question. In it we suggest that industry representatives be permitted in the wound clinic by invitation only. This is similar to the policy for most operating rooms. A representative is asked to attend a procedure in which special expertise and advice may be required. Otherwise, the interaction between industry and clinicians should occur outside the clinic setting: in the form of meeting sponsorship, promotional lectures and, of course, the wound cruise. In addition, we developed a formal process for initial product evaluation that allows physicians to trial the dressing, device, or procedure while at the same time contributing to the body of evidence for the its use. The goal of the policy is not to curtail the interaction between industry and clinicians but to define it more clearly.

Cheers to a long and mutually respectful relationship between clinicians and industry.

About The Author
Dr. Thomas Serena has published more than 75 peer-reviewed papers and has made in excess of 200 presentations worldwide. He has been elected to the Board of Directors of both The Wound Healing Society and the American College of Hyperbaric Medicine (ACHM), the leading academic society in the field of Hyperbaric Medicine. In 2014 Dr. Serena was elected president of the American Professional Wound Care Association (APWCA). Dr. Serena has opened and operates Wound Care and hyperbaric oxygen treatment clinics across the United States.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.


Great topic for discussion, thank you. Great resulting policy. I would add one more reason not to allow reps free access in the clinic (which was a factor in our policy stance): the difficulty of maintaining patient confidentiality (and complying with HIPAA). I now meet with reps by appointment only, and only in our conference room or on the patio, not in the clinic proper unless that is relevant to our discussion.

Add new comment

Important Notice: The contents of the website such as text, graphics, images, and other materials contained on the website ("Content") are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The content is not intended to substitute manufacturer instructions. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or product usage. Refer to the Legal Notice for express terms of use.