Informing the consent process for surgeons: A survey study of patient preferences, perceptions and risk tolerance

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Title: Informing the consent process for surgeons: A survey study of patient preferences, perceptions and risk tolerance
Authors: Pucher, P
Johnston, M
Archer, S
Whitby, J
Dawson, P
Arora, S
Darzi, A
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Background Despite the ethical and statutory requirement to obtain consent for surgical procedures, the actual process itself is less well defined. The degree of disclosure and detail expected may vary greatly. A recent shift toward a more patient-centered approach in both clinical and medico-legal practice has significant implications for ensuring appropriate and legal practice in obtaining informed consent before surgery. Methods Two hundred patients undergoing elective surgery across two hospitals returned a survey of attitudes toward consent, perceived important elements in the consent process, and risk tolerance, as well as demographic details. Results No significant associations between patient demographics and survey responses were found. Patients were least concerned with the environment in which consent was taken and the disclosure of uncommon complications. The most important factors related to communication and rapport between clinician and patients, as opposed to procedure- or complication-specific items. A majority of patients preferred risks to be described using proportional descriptors, rather than percentage or non-numeric descriptors. Conclusions Risk tolerance and desired level of disclosure varies for each patient and should not be presumed to be covered by standardized proformas. We suggest an individualized approach, taking into account each patient's background, understanding, and needs, is crucial for consent. Communications skills must be prioritized to ensure patient satisfaction and reduced risk of litigation.
Issue Date: 1-Mar-2019
Date of Acceptance: 12-Sep-2018
ISSN: 0022-4804
Publisher: Elsevier
Start Page: 298
End Page: 302
Journal / Book Title: Journal of Surgical Research
Volume: 235
Copyright Statement: © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. This manuscript is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licence
Keywords: 1103 Clinical Sciences
Publication Status: Published
Embargo Date: 2019-11-03
Online Publication Date: 2018-11-03
Appears in Collections:Division of Surgery
Faculty of Medicine

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