Quality education and training are costly - both in terms of producing courses that are high quality and effective and in terms of the time that students must take away from other duties to prepare for and attend courses. The increasing understanding that healthcare workers must be career-long learners means continuously seeking out education opportunities that meet our needs, budget, and availability.
It also means that healthcare workers are continuously having to assess the quality of the education opportunities available, including conflicts of interest in the funding or development of the courses they take. There is an enormous “payback” for corporations who are successful in influencing healthcare providers' beliefs and practices, allowing their messages to be delivered through the voice of the trusted healthcare worker.
Understanding how to identify potential conflicts of interest in education is a foundation for future learning because it sets the stage for decision-making for years to come. Evidence has consistently shown that education that is sponsored by industry is biased and that physicians, even when they are aware that they are looking for biases, fail to identify bias in the educational materials provided.
While in the infant feeding world, we often rely on the Code and related documents to provide support for this concept, the issue of commercial influence in health education is much broader and far-reaching. IBLCE’s Minimising Commercial Influence on Education Policy is a useful starting point that outlines some very practical considerations for those within the lactation field, but is still fairly narrow in scope, applying only to CERP-eligible programs.
In the absence of government regulation that prohibits corporations from creating or funding healthcare education, professional organizations and facilities need to have their own internal policies and processes to eliminate corporate influence on staff education and help staff and managers select programs.
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If you are a European resident, you have the right to access personal information we hold about you and to ask that your personal information be corrected, updated, or deleted. If you would like to exercise this right, please contact us through the contact information below.
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Last Updated: September 2018