To achieve our mission of making health care better, we must earn and preserve the trust of our member organizations. That's why we are establishing and publicly sharing these guidelines, which describe how Advisory Board protects our independence, objectivity, and integrity when working with sponsors to produce sponsored content.
For the sake of clarity, when we say "sponsor," we mean any organization that compensates us to conduct research, to communicate about our research, to distribute Advisory Board's content via that organization's own channels, or otherwise to produce or distribute content under Advisory Board's logo or brand. By "sponsored content," we mean any content produced or distributed via our partnerships with sponsors.
We believe that our partnerships with sponsors help Advisory Board create new value both for our members and the broader health care industry. For instance, these partnerships can support research into areas we otherwise couldn't explore in depth, and they can give us access to new venues for communicating our research and insights.
What's critical is that, in advancing these goals, we act always in ways that preserve Advisory Board's objectivity and our members' trust. Here are the core principles underlying our work with sponsors:
- We will never allow any relationship with a sponsor to undermine our editorial integrity. Toward that end, Advisory Board is selective both about which sponsors we choose to work with and about how we work with each sponsor.
- We always maintain final editorial say on sponsored content. All sponsored content must live up to Advisory Board's and the industry's research integrity standards.
- We always clearly and prominently label sponsored content to distinguish it from Advisory Board's unsponsored research. These labels include terms such as "Sponsored Editorial Content," and they are accompanied by a clear description of the sponsor's relationship with Advisory Board—including whether anyone at the sponsor's organization contributed to the content. We do not permit sponsors to pay to be featured or profiled in Advisory Board's unsponsored research.
- We do not publish sponsored content that endorses a sponsor's products, services, or brand. It's natural that sponsors may ask us to research or write about topics adjacent to their work. In these cases, we make clear upfront that our conclusions will be unbiased and that, in order to preserve our members' trust, we will never recommend a sponsor's offerings over those of their competitors.
- Sponsors may not market or distribute sponsored content without Advisory Board's express, written approval. This helps ensure that sponsored content is always presented with appropriate context, labeling, and disclosure.
- We do not publish sponsored content that is false, deceptive, misleading, or damaging to Advisory Board's reputation or to our members. If, after publishing a piece of content, we determine that it no longer represents our best editorial judgment, or if we decide that partnering with a sponsor is no longer in the best interests of Advisory Board or our members, we will update or remove that content.
Consistent with these editorial guidelines, Advisory Board accepts sponsored content from a range of industry stakeholders, including our parent company, Optum. All Optum-sponsored content follows the same editorial practices as content sponsored by any other editorial partner. In particular, it includes a clear, prominent description of how Optum contributed to or influenced the content. Advisory Board’s unsponsored research, expert perspectives, and recommendations remain independent of Optum.
These are our foundational principles, and they are broad by design. They aren't intended to specifically address every possible situation that may arise, but rather to explain how we'll handle all situations in ways that protect our editorial integrity and preserve our members' trust.
Please know that we believe in transparency about our editorial process—and in learning from our members' comments, concerns, questions, and critiques. If you'd like to share your perspective, please don't hesitate to get in touch.