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Online physician community may help with postmarket surveillance

This article was originally published in The Silver Sheet

Executive Summary

CDRH has signed an "evaluation agreement" with an online forum for physicians to determine whether it can help the center with its postmarket surveillance challenges. Cambridge, Mass.-based Sermo - which bills itself as the nation's largest online physician community - will work with FDA "to explore opportunities and introduce new ways in which physicians can become efficiently involved in the surveillance of medical product safety," says company VP Alex Frost. The site allows doctors to discuss various topics with each other and also lets them formulate quantitative survey questions. For example, during a discussion about a certain type of adverse event, a participant could send out a survey question asking others whether they have seen similar issues. The system would then tabulate the results. Precisely how Sermo could be incorporated into the postmarket surveillance infrastructure of CDRH, or possibly FDA as a whole, remains to be seen
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