Having 1 year of residency training under my belt, I see first-hand the issues that come along with the “informed consent” or it might as well be called “un-informed consent” in regards to how we as a profession have limited what we tell our patients. The best patient outcomes come from honesty that starts from the day you meet your patient, to an in-depth discussion regarding the named procedure and associated risks/benefits/alternatives. One way we could make the informed consent process better is by limiting the amount of information that can be pre-populated on the form and requiring risks/benefits/alternatives to be hand-written with no abbreviations during the time we are at the patient’s bedside. It will make the entire process seem smoother and less rushed.
The informed consent process has turned into a task rather than a detailed, engaging conversation between patient and provider. I feel this is a crucial time to really show our patients that we really do care about them, and they are the “boss” when it comes to making decisions. We are simply there as the provider to help educate the patient on their condition and treatment options, not have a pre-selected course of treatment before entering the room.
The first step to fixing a problem is recognizing it, which we have done. Now it’s time to come together and revamp the whole idea of the informed consent.