Medical informed choice: understanding the element of time to meet the standard of care for valid informed consent

Medical informed choice: understanding the element of time to meet the standard of care for valid informed consent
Zachary R Paterick, Timothy Edward Paterick , Barb Block Paterick
Postgraduate Medical Journal, 9 December 2019
Open Access
Medical informed choice is essential for a physician meeting their fiduciary duty when proposing medical and surgical actions, and necessary for a patient to consent or cull the outlined therapeutic approaches. Informed choice, as part of a shared decision-making model, allows widespread give-and-take of ideas between the patient and physician. This sharing of ideas results in a partnership for decision-making and a responsibility for medical and surgical outcomes. Informed choice is indispensible to the patient education process that meets the desired outcome of any covenant —an offer of and acceptance of the proposed treatment. The covenant anchors a true patient–physician partnership with parity and equality in decision-making and medical/surgical outcomes. Medical informed choice flows from ethical and legal principles necessary to meet the acknowledged standard of care. This is codified by statute and fortified in general common law. This espouses a fiduciary relationship where the patient and physician understand and accede to the degree of autonomy the patient requests. The growth of an equal patient–physician relationship requires time. There is no alternative to the time variable when developing a physician–patient relationship. Despite physicians being under pressures to perform more clinical and administrative duties in less time in the corporate model of medicine, time remains the most critical variable when considering informed choice and shared decision-making. Videos, pamphlets and alternate healthcare providers cannot and should not substitute for physician time.

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