MSK eConsent: Digitalizing the informed consent process to improve participant engagement and understanding

MSK eConsent: Digitalizing the informed consent process to improve participant engagement and understanding
Care Delivery and Regulatory Policy
Michael T. Buckley, Joseph M. Lengfellner, Matthew J. Koch, Benjamin Search, Carol Hoidra, Mary Lin, Sangeeta Kundu, Roy Cambria, Molly O’Shea, Jesse Galle, Jennifer Wang, Ann Rodavitch, Karima Yataghene, Jaclyn Pember, Stephanie Lucia Terzulli, Collette Houston, Eric Cottington, Paul Sabbatini
Journal of Clinical Oncology, 25 May 2020; 38(15)suppl.2066
Abstract
Background: eConsent was developed to digitize the research participant consenting experience with an educational engagement model. The eConsent platform tiers consent document content in an easy-to-navigate format, using videos, images, and access to supplementary information. We hypothesize that enhancing the consenting experience improves participant engagement and comprehension. Methods: Here we present two projects: 1) qualitative assessment of patient engagement in the eConsent process using a standardized 5-question survey sent to all patients who used it during 9 months in 2019, and 2) a report of our preliminary findings from exempt protocol, Assessing Participant Engagement and Protocol Education in the Consent Process (X19-055) that quantitatively compares paper and electronic consenting and a) assesses patient agency and b) tests comprehension of key consent elements in 2 protocols: Storage and Research Use of Human Biospecimens (06-107) and Genomic Profiling in Cancer Patients (12-245). Results: 1) 940 patients completed the qualitative experience survey (27% response). Most respondents (777; 83%) indicated that electronic consenting was very easy (371) or easy (406) to use. Only 25 (3%) said electronic consenting was somewhat difficult to use, 3 indicated it was difficult (0.3%), and 64 were neutral. Most (896; 95%) recommended electronic consenting to other MSK patients. Those who reported a 1 unit increase in technology discomfort, only reported a .48 unit increase in eConsent discomfort (P< .001). 2)Quantitative 10-question electronic tests were sent to each patient’s portal account within 72h after consenting via paper or eConsent to protocols 06-107 and 12-245. To date, for 06-107: 18 paper consenters completed the test with a score of 76% vs 23 eConsent users who scored 80%. For 12-245: 43 paper consenters scored 69% vs 13 eConsent users scoring 80%. Scores are a surrogate marker for patient comprehension and show that 12-245 protocol participants’ average testing scores are higher when participants are consented with eConsent vs paper (P < .01). 06-107 protocol participants’ average test scores are trending toward eConsent improving patient understanding (P= .11). We will follow this trend as our sample size increases to a total of 500 participants. Patient agency questions received favorable responses from most patients (100%-84%). Conclusions: eConsent enhances participant engagement and understanding and does not impose a digital burden on participants.

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