Informed Consent: A Monthly Review
This digest aggregates and distills key content around informed consent from a broad spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and grey literature, and from various practice domains and organization types including international agencies, INGOs, governments, academic and research institutions, consortiums and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. We acknowledge that this scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive digest product.
Informed Consent: A Monthly Review is a service of the Center for Informed Consent Integrity, a program of the GE2P2 Global Foundation. The Foundation is solely responsible for its content. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:
Paige Fitzsimmons, MA
Associate Director, Center for Informed Consent Integrity
GE2P2 Global Foundation
PDF Version: GE2P2 Global_Informed Consent – A Monthly Review_May 2020
Communicating genetic information to family members: analysis of consent forms for diagnostic genomic sequencing
Amicia Phillips, Emilia Niemiec, Heidi Carmen Howard, Kalliopi Kagkelari, Pascal Borry & Danya F. Vears
European Journal of Human Genetics, 27 April 2020
Communicating results from genomic sequencing to family members can play an essential role allowing access to surveillance, prevention, treatment or prophylactic measures. Yet, many patients struggle with communication of these results and it is unclear to what extent this is discussed during the consent process. We conducted an online systematic search and used content analysis to explore how consent forms for genomic sequencing address communication of genetic information to family members. Our search yielded 68 consent forms from 11 countries. Although 57 forms alluded to the familial nature of results, forms varied in their discussion of the potential familial implications of results. Only 11 addressed communication of genetic information with family members, with differences in who would be responsible for this process. Several forms offered patients options regarding communication, even in countries where national guidelines and legislation allow for the disclosure of results in the absence of patient consent. These findings are concerning because they show how forms may potentially mislead patients and health care professionals about whether communication is permissible in cases where the patient does not consent. We suggest that providers and health care professionals reconsider how consent forms address communicating genetic information to family members.
Informed Consent for Human Embryo Genome Editing
Stem Cell Reports, 14 April 2020; 14(4) pp 530-537
In the event that human embryo genome editing is considered safe enough for the clinic, researchers will need to consider how to administer consent so that would-be recipients of edited embryos can make an informed decision. Informed consent will require truthfulness, sensitivity, regulatory compliance, and attention to the highest ethical standards.
Dynamic-informed consent: A potential solution for ethical dilemmas in population sequencing initiatives
Fida K Dankar, Marton Gergely, Bradley Malin, Radja Badji, Samar K Dankar, Khaled Shuaib
Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal, 2 April 2020
While the majority of population-level genome sequencing initiatives claim to follow the principles of informed consent, the requirements for informed consent have not been-well defined in this context. In fact, the implementation of informed consent differs greatly across these initiatives – spanning broad consent, blanket consent, and tiered consent among others. As such, this calls for an investigation into the requirements for consent to be “informed” in the context of population genomics. One particular strategy that claims to be fully informed and to continuously engage participants is called “dynamic consent”. Dynamic consent is based on a personalised communication platform that aims to facilitate the consent process. It is oriented to support continuous two-way communication between researchers and participants. In this paper, we analyze the requirements of informed consent in the context of population genomics, review various current implementations of dynamic consent, assess whether they fulfill the requirement of informed consent, and, in turn, enable participants to make autonomous and informed choices on whether or not to participate in research projects.
Patient perspectives on research use of residual biospecimens and health information: On the necessity of obtaining societal consent by creating a governance structure based on value-sharing
Mayumi Yamanaka, Mika Suzuki, Keiko Sato
Research Ethics, April 2020
Very few attempts have been made to survey patient opinions, particularly regarding the use of residual biospecimens and health information in research, to clarify their values. We conducted a questionnaire survey that targeted outpatients of a university hospital to gauge their awareness levels and understand patient perspectives on research that uses these items. Few patients felt that obtaining individual consent for each research study was necessary. Most patients expressed the view that researchers should be obligated to inform them about the research use of their items and be subject to self-directed rules (including sanctions). The research community should try to obtain “societal consent regarding an opt-out system” from the public. A salient value-sharing-based governance structure is necessary for obtaining public trust.
Examining consent for interventional research in potential deceased organ donors: a narrative review
Cooper J, Harvey D, Gardiner D
Anaesthesia, 24 Apr 2020
In the last decade, research in transplant medicine has focused on developing interventions in the management of the deceased organ donor to improve the quality and quantity of transplantable organs. Despite the promise of interventional donor research, there remain debates about the ethics of this research, specifically regarding gaining research consent. Here, we examine the concerns and ambiguities around consent for interventional donor research, which incorporate questions about who should consent for interventional donor research and what people are being asked to consent for. We highlight the US and UK policy responses to these concerns and argue that, whereas guidance in this area has done much to clarify these ambiguities, there is little consideration of the nature, practicalities and context around consent in this area, particularly regarding organ donors and their families. We review wider studies of consent in critical care research and social science studies of consent in medical research, to gain a broader view of consent in this area as a relational and contextual process. We contend a lack of consideration has been given to: what it might mean to consent to interventional donor research; how families, patients and health professionals might experience providing and seeking this consent; who is best placed to have these discussions; and the socio-institutional contexts affecting these processes. Further, empirical research is required to establish an ethical and sensitive model for consent in interventional donor research, ensuring the principles enshrined in research ethics are met and public trust in organ donation is maintained.
Trust trumps comprehension, visceral factors trump all: A psychological cascade constraining informed consent to clinical trials: A qualitative study with stable patients
Michael Rost, Rebecca Nast, Bernice S Elger, David Shaw
Research Ethics, April 2020
This paper addresses psychological factors that might interfere with informed consent on the part of stable patients as potential early-phase clinical trial participants. Thirty-six semistructured interviews with patients who had either diabetes or gout were conducted. We investigated stable patients’ attitudes towards participating in a fictitious first-in-human trial of a novel intervention. We focused on an in-depth analysis of those statements and explanations that indicated the existence of psychological factors impairing decision-making capacity. Three main themes emerged: insufficient comprehension of the inherent logic of clinical trials (actual comprehension), the recourse to trust over comprehension (prioritization of trust), and visceral factors that override deliberative process (visceral factors). Overall, our results indicate a limited psychological capacity on the part of stable patients to meet the requirements of informed consent as set by Declaration of Helsinki. A redesigned informed consent procedure should take account of these psychological realities.
Informed Consent Through 3D Virtual Reality: A Randomized Clinical Trial
Alessandro Perin, Tommaso Francesco Galbiati, Roberta Ayadi, Enrico Gambatesa, Eleonora Francesca Orena, Nicole Irene Riker, Hagit Silberberg, Donatella Sgubin, Torstein Ragnar Meling, Francesco DiMeco
Acta Neurochirurgica, 3 April 2020
The informed consent is a defining moment that should allow patients to understand their condition, what procedure they are undergoing, and what consequences may follow. This process should foster trust and promote confidence, without increasing patients’ anxiety. New immersive 3D imaging technologies may serve as a tool to facilitate this endeavor.
In a prospective, single-center, randomized controlled clinical trial (SPLICE Study: Surgical Planning and Informed Consent Study; ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03503487), 40 patients undergoing surgery for intracranial tumors were enrolled. After undergoing a traditional surgical informed consent acquisition, 33 patients were randomized 1:1:1 to 3 groups: in 2 experimental groups, patients underwent a 3D, immersive informed consent with two different surgical planners (group 1 and group 2); in the control group, patients underwent an informed consent supported by traditional 2D radiological images.
Patients in the experimental groups appreciated this communication experience, while their objective comprehension was higher ((score mean (SD)): group 1 82.65 (6.83); group 2 77.76 (10.19)), as compared with the control group (57.70 (12.49); P < 0.001). Subjective comprehension and anxiety levels did not differ between experimental groups and control group.
3D virtual reality can help surgeons and patients in building a better relationship before surgery; immersive 3D-supported informed consent improves patients’ comprehension of their condition without increasing anxiety. This new paradigm may foster trust between surgeons and patients, possibly restraining medical-legal acts.
Editor’s note: Acta Neurochirurgica is an Austrian journal.
Educational Video Addition to the Bariatric Surgery Informed Consent Process: a Randomized Controlled Trial
Saglam K, Kayaalp C, Aktas A, Sumer F
Obesity Surgery, 11 Apr 2020
Bariatric surgery is not a risk-free procedure and requires lifelong patient compliance in the postoperative period. Although the risks involved in bariatric surgery and the importance of lifelong follow-ups in the postoperative period are explained to patients in detail through verbal and written informed consent, the strong desire for weight loss can sometimes cause patients and their families to be ignorant of the mentioned issues preoperatively. The objective of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of preoperative informational videos at improving the comprehension of informed consent content in bariatric surgery candidates.
Materials and Methods
A total of 74 bariatric surgery candidates were randomized into two groups. The first group was given a usual verbal-written informed consent. The second group got an additional informing video presentation informed consent, in addition to the usual verbal-written informed consent. Then, both groups got a questionnaire evaluating their knowledge of bariatric surgery informed consent. The correct response scores and their relationship with patient demographics were analyzed.
Both groups had similar demographic features. Video-presented group had higher scores in questionnaire (11.3 ± 2.3 versus 9.4 ± 1.7, p = 0.001). Subgroup analysis showed that health care workers (12.5 ± 1.9 versus 10.3 ± 2.2, p = 0.005) and university graduates (11.6 ± 2.4 versus 10.1 ± 2.1, p = 0.03) got better results in the questionnaire. In multivariate analysis, video-assisted informing was found to be the only independent variable for high questionnaire scores (p = 0.0001).
This study showed that video-assisted informed consent improves patients’ comprehension prior to bariatric surgery. We recommend routine preoperative video-assisted informing for bariatric surgery candidates in addition to usual verbal-written informed consent.
Comparison of Video, App, and Standard Consent Processes on Decision-Making for Biospecimen Research: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Erin Rothwell, Erin Johnson, Bob Wong, Aaron Goldenberg, Beth A. Tarini, Naomi Riches, Louisa A. Stark, Christina Pries, Carrie Langbo, Elizabeth Langen, Jeffrey Botkin
Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 3 April 2020
Obtaining informed consent for bloodspot research from newborn screening is particularly challenging due to the hectic environment of the postnatal period and the relatively abstract nature of future, unspecified research on the biospecimens. A randomized controlled trial was conducted in three Michigan hospitals to compare two different consent processes (video and interactive tablet “app”) with standard brochure-based consent in the Michigan BioTrust for Health. Results indicated higher knowledge scores for the video and app groups as well as significantly higher scores on satisfaction, amount of information, and clarity with the information provided. More research is needed to find the right amount of information for informed decision-making, and additional feasibility studies are needed to assess implementation strategies.