USF Professors Launch Website to Identify Vendor-Physician Payments

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Professors Terence Parr and Andrew Nguyen developed a new website that allows users to see all payments made to physicians and researchers from drug and medical equipment manufacturers. The site, http://www.openpayments.us, is available now and is free to all users.

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Andrew Nguyen, assistant professor of Health Informatics at USF.

“When patients know about any potential physician bias or conflicts of interest, they are better able to discuss treatment plans with their doctor,” said Andrew Nguyen, assistant professor of Health Informatics at USF.

University of San Francisco (USF) Professors Terence Parr and Andrew Nguyen developed a new website that allows users to see all payments made to physicians and researchers from drug and medical equipment manufacturers. The professors created the site, http://www.openpayments.us, based on the information provided by the federal government through the Physician Payments Sunshine Act. The site is available now and is free to all users.

“Our site provides a fast and user-friendly resource for patients to gain information about any financial relationship between a specific doctor and medical vendors and manufacturers,” said Parr, USF Computer Science professor and co-creator of the website. “To comply with the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, the federal government released data concerning financial relationships between vendors and healthcare providers, but the government website wasn’t very user friendly. We set out to create a site that provides full access to all transaction information in an easy to search and read format.”

“When patients know about any potential physician bias or conflicts of interest, they are better able to discuss treatment plans with their doctor,” said Nguyen, assistant professor of Health Informatics at USF and lead creator of the openpayments.us website. “Openpayments.us provides patients with access to this information, allowing them to quickly and easily explore the relationships between vendors and healthcare providers.”

By simply typing in a doctor’s name, users will see what dollar amount, meals, trips, gifts-in-kind, and other forms of payment that doctor received from medical and pharmaceutical manufacturers. On a broader scope, users are able to identify marketing trends and areas of influence through openpayments.us. For instance, the site identified that orthopedic surgeons received the most money from drug companies (approximately $80,157,503 in the five months of data provided by the government) and that Genentech gave the most money ($135,442,066) to physicians and researchers.

According to Parr, researchers can also benefit from using the openpayments.us site. “All query results are available as raw data so researchers can build visualizations, such as maps showing where vendors concentrate most of their payments.”

About the University of San Francisco
The University of San Francisco is located in the heart of one of the world’s most innovative and stunning cities and is home to a vibrant academic community of students and faculty who achieve excellence in their fields. Its diverse student body enjoys direct access to faculty, small classes, and outstanding opportunities in the city itself. USF is San Francisco’s first university, and its Jesuit Catholic mission helps ignite a student's passion for social justice and a desire to “Change the World from Here.” For more information, please visit http://www.usfca.edu.

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Anne-Marie Devine Tasto
University of San Francisco
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Anne-Marie Devine Tasto
USF
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