Friday, October 26, 2012

Improving the Informed Consent Process

Clinical trials are crucial in not only curing, but understanding diseases. But before you sign up for one, it's important to understand what exactly you're signing onto. I can't tell you how many times I've walked into a room to consent a patient and have had them respond with a blank stare. As a former research assistant this was a problem I faced time and time again. After getting life changing news the last place you want to be is sitting in a tiny room waiting to sign papers, so it's only understandable that they want to do what they're asked and leave. However, I do agree that physicians should treat the research portion of the visit just as delicately and thoroughly as the rest of their appointment, especially with pediatric patients.

Dr. Eric D. Kodish of the Cleveland Clinic recently interviewed around 60 parents of pediatric patients and found that although their child was consented to the study, parents didn't completely understand what a 'Phase I' trial entails. The study showed that physicians need to be clear and concise about the purpose of the study, and that may require additional training on their part. But it's very important, he added, that families are fully informed before enrolling their child in such a trial. They need to weigh that choice against the other options for their child; if they want to travelor spend time with relatives, a phase 1 trial might not be the choice for them. 

Want to learn more about improving patient compliance? Join us for, Jumping the First Hurdle: Simplify & Improve the Informed Consent Process during the Patient-Centered Clinical Trials Summit as part of the Partnerships programming to be held on April 22, 2013.

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