Informed consent process has lost its educational value



A new University of Leicester study reveals that screening people who are at risk of developing diabetes could be a cost-effective health policy and improve the lives of patients. In her inaugural lecture on Wednesday 12th November, Dr Clare Gillies of the Department of Health Sciences will reveal the results of her simulation study investigating

Full Post: New study highlights potential for cost effective NHS policy

It’s time patient consent forms came back full circle to a tool for patient education, rather than the waiver of liability they have become.

The original purpose of the consent forms was for a surgeon or doctor to inform the patient of common or serious risks associated with the procedure to be performed. However, the way current consent forms are written - as formal, legal documents - plants a litigious relationship in both the patient’s and the surgeon’s mind even before treatment has begun. Lawrence Brenner is an attorney on the faculty of the Department of Orthopedics at Yale University. He and his colleagues propose a set of five recommendations to return consent forms to their intended purpose - that of allowing patients to meaningfully take part in the decision-making process. Their suggestions have been published online in Springer’s journal, Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research.

As surgeons have become increasingly concerned about potential litigation, the informed consent process has lost its educational value. The focus is now on obtaining ‘preoperative release’, rather than an exchange of information to help patients make important decisions about their healthcare choices. In reality, the majority of patients find it a challenge to understand the complicated legal jargon used on the forms.

Research also suggests that proper informed consent has a direct impact on the quality of patients’ recovery after surgery. Indeed, patients have more realistic expectations and are better prepared psychologically to cope with the outcome of the operation when they have had an open discussion with their physician about what to expect during and after surgery.

In order to return informed consent forms to a tool for patient education rather than a form written by lawyers to absolve surgeons from liability, the authors make five recommendations. First, the informed consent form should never be viewed as a substitute for educating the patient; it is merely evidence that an appropriate discussion has taken place. Second, the forms should be designed to be understandable. Third, surgeons should not be afraid to communicate uncertainty in order to have a truly open discussion with their patients. Fourth, patients need to be active participants in the dialogue about the potential risks of the procedure. Finally, a note by the surgeon in the patients’ medical notes, that states that a discussion has taken place, is likely to be much more effective than a lengthy signed, but incomprehensible, form.

http://www.springerlink.com/openurl.asp?genre=journal&issn=0009-921X

Link




Total knee replacement (TKR) is a common treatment for osteoarthritis, a disease affecting more than 20 million Americans. However, the surgery poses risks and both patients and physicians must carefully assess its potential benefits and harm. Studies have shown that doctor-patient communication is correlated with outcomes and that patient satisfaction and commitment to treatment are

Full Post: Health-care providers and patients differ on views of knee replacement



Introducing presumed consent or opt-out system may increase organ donation rates, suggests a new systematic review published on BMJ.com. There is currently insufficient supply of donor organs to meet the demand for organ transplantations in the UK. The number of patients registered for a transplant continues to increase. In March 2008, 7,655 patients were on

Full Post: Presumed consent or opt-out system may increase organ donation rates



An innovative approach for implanting a new aortic heart valve without open-heart surgery is being offered to patients at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. Known as the PARTNER (Placement of AoRTic traNscathetER valves) trial, this Phase 3 multicenter study is being led by national co-principal investigators Dr. Martin Leon and Dr. Craig Smith and is

Full Post: New method for implanting aortic heart valves



A new review outlines potential pharmaceutical, dietary, surgical, and other approaches to reducing the risk of breast cancer among women in the United States, and examines the evidence for specific recommendations. The review says risk reduction strategies for women at average risk of breast cancer should focus primarily on lifestyle factors. Among the recommendations: aside

Full Post: A new review of breast cancer prevention strategies in the U.S.



Surgeons in the United States have carried out America’s first face transplant at a clinic in Cleveland, Ohio where a woman has had 80% of her face replaced with that of a deceased female donor. The operation which was conducted by reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow along with a team of seven other doctors, is

Full Post: American surgeons carry out first U.S. face transplant