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Ensuring Physician Database Privacy

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For more than 60 years, the AMA has licensed its AMA Physician Masterfile database to the health care community to serve the public good and the medical industry. Through the AMA Privacy Policy, physicians are provided a means to control access to their AMA Physician Masterfile information, as well as the prescribing data appended to it by 3rd parties and used by pharmaceutical sales representatives.

The types of licensing organizations that use the AMA Physician Masterfile database include hospitals, medical schools, pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment and supply companies, consultants, market researchers, insurance companies, commercial organizations, medical publishers, CME providers, physician recruiters and investment firms and other entities.

Use of the AMA Physician Masterfile is controlled through stringent data licensing agreements. Physicians may update or view their AMA data files by using the Physician Data Descrepancy Form.

Database Licensees

The AMA began licensing its Physician Masterfile to external users more than 60 years ago. Today, the AMA has license agreements with Database Licensees who specialize in a variety of marketing services for the medical community. 

The AMA also developed a set of best practices guidelines for the use of prescribing data by industry (PDF). These guidelines reinforce to the pharmaceutical industry the responsible use of these data.

Through the licensees, the AMA Physician Masterfile has been made available to hospitals, medical schools, pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment and supply companies and other institutions interested in supplying goods and services to medical community. AMA's database licensees specialize in direct mail, sales call reporting and other database marketing services.

Companies and organizations interested in becoming a database licensee can email an inquiry to Susan Wilson at [email protected] for more information.

For current licensees, sign into the AMA Database Licensing section to access resources.

Data Licensing Privacy Notice/Do Not Contact or Release Information

Since 2002, the AMA Department of Database Licensing has used the AMA Data Licensing Privacy Notice (PDF) for the distribution of physician data. The AMA Data Licensing Privacy Notice addresses important information about AMA data collection, maintenance and licensing, AMA security procedures and the distribution of AMA physician data.

It also gives physicians and medical students the option to restrict unwanted correspondence or opt out of having their information routinely licensed. Physicians may place a request to add a Do Not Contact or Do Not Release restriction to their AMA Physician Masterfile record.

To submit the "No Contact" form via mail or fax, print the "No Contact" form. To set up a "No Contact" restriction via phone call (800) 621-8335.

Physician Data Restriction Program

In 2006, the privacy notice was enhanced to include information on the AMA's Physician Data Restriction Program. The program empowers physicians by allowing them to restrict pharmaceutical sales representatives from accessing their prescribing data.

The AMA also developed a set of Best Practices Guidelines for the Use of Prescribing Data by Industry (PDF). These guidelines reinforce the responsible use of data for the pharmaceutical industry.

Report a Complaint

Physicians may report a complaint about prescribing data using the Physician Data Discrepency Form.

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