American Osteopathic Association
May 12, 2003
A message from the AOA about physician data
The AOA has promoted osteopathic medicine for over a century. The AOA is the major source of information about osteopathic medicine and the important role of osteopathic physicians. Shortly after it was founded, the AOA conducted its first Census of the Osteopathic Profession and published the results in its first Directory. The AOA has now organized its unique data resources into the AOA Masterfile, and will continue to use its data to promote this important profession.
What kind of physician data does the AOA collect?
The AOA collects data on all osteopathic students and physicians, including those who are not AOA members. Osteopathic physicians are physicians who have graduated from medical schools approved by the American Osteopathic Association. Each physician’s record includes demographic information, COM of graduation, postgraduate information, and current practice information. Demographic information includes gender, date of birth, mailing address and other contact information. Current practice information includes type of practice, self-identified specialty, licensure, and AOA board certification. Physicians may also ask the AOA to verify certain types of non-osteopathic postgraduate medical education, which then becomes part of their physician record.
The AOA obtains educational information only from primary sources. It obtains demographic information from the COMs. The AOA also obtains address information from commercial sources and from other members of the osteopathic family, which includes COMs, state associations and specialty colleges.
The AOA also collects data on those who are not DOs but who are members of the AOA, such as auxiliary members and associate members.
How does the AOA Masterfile benefit the public and the osteopathic profession?
The AOA Masterfile documents trends in the osteopathic profession and the important role osteopathic physicians serve in healthcare. It benefits the practicing physician by providing an easy way for the public, hospitals and licensing boards to verify credentials.
While data verification and authentication are the Masterfile’s primary purpose, the AOA shares limited information with other members of the osteopathic family, and licenses portions of its Masterfile to selected licensees. Both operate under carefully restricted information usage agreements. The AOA does not release home addresses to licensees when we have a business address. Licensees work with many health care related companies that offer a wide range of products and services for physicians and the larger medical community. They include:
- Medical and professional journals
- Drug recall and safety information
- Continuing medical education programs
- Physician credential verification services
- Drug samples and pharmaceutical information
- Medical equipment and supplies
- Employment opportunities
- General practice-related commercial offers of interest to physicians as consumers
The AOA takes every precaution to protect our information. We use SSL encryption to protect information online. We also do everything in our power to protect our database off-line. All information is restricted in our offices. Employees must use password-protected screens when they enter the database. The server we store personally identifiable information on is kept in a secure environment. We obtain educational information only from primary sources and ability to change any information in the Masterfile is restricted to a small number of employees.
Can you decide how you want the AOA to use your information?
YES! Physicians may direct the AOA:
- To exclude them from any or all of the following:
- The on-line AOA Directory (including the members-only section)
- JAOA mailings
- The DO mailings
You will still continue to receive the other products and services our licensees and we provide.
- Not to release their email address to any licensee (NEW)
This option permits the AOA to contact the physician by email, but the AOA will not share the email address with any of its licensees, or to other members of the osteopathic family, even to distribute information regarding drug recalls and announcements of health hazards.
- Not to release their mailing address information to any affiliate or licensee
This option permits the AOA to contact the physician by mail, but the AOA will not share any contact information contact with other members of the osteopathic family, or with its licensees, which is the basis for receiving most of their products and services, including journals, new product announcements, information about health hazards and information about drug recalls.
- Not to release any physician-provided information
This option means that the AOA will not release any physician-provided information to licenses or other osteopathic organizations. This non-release includes physician-provided information used to announce drug recalls and health hazards, information given to state licensing agencies and agencies verifying credentials such as hospitals and physician groups. These physicians will also be excluded from the AOA Directory and will not receive the JAOA or The DO.
We invite you to contact the Member Service Center, 1-800-621-1773, Extension 1, to change your contact status. We will be able to make these changes immediately. Licensees and other osteopathic organizations however may not become aware of these changes for a longer period.