Dr. Yaremchuk said otolaryngologists in her department are making an effort to pre-populate the blanks in informed consent forms with some of the known complications of each surgery to help ensure that the essentials are covered. She added that she and her colleagues are including more in their outpatient notes about what they discussed with patients about the proposed treatment and alternatives. For example, for a patient with sleep apnea, she might note in her files that she discussed the risks and benefits of using a continuous positive airway pressure machine, losing weight, or going without treatment.
Explore This IssueAugust 2010
Additional tools and support from hospitals can only help with the informed consent process, Dr. Hopp said. This may lead to some duplication of effort but, he pointed out, repetition is a time-honored instructional technique.