An Electronic Tool to Support Patient-Centered Broad Consent: A Multi-Arm Randomized Clinical Trial in Family Medicine

An Electronic Tool to Support Patient-Centered Broad Consent: A Multi-Arm Randomized Clinical Trial in Family Medicine
Elizabeth H. Golembiewski, Arch G. Mainous, III, Kiarash P. Rahmanian, Babette Brumback, Benjamin J. Rooks, Janice L. Krieger, Kenneth W. Goodman, Ray E. Moseley, Christopher A. Harle
Annals of Family Medicine, January-February 2021; 19(1) pp 16–23
Abstract
Purpose
Patients are frequently asked to share their personal health information. The objective of this study was to compare the effects on patient experiences of 3 electronic consent (e-consent) versions asking patients to share their health records for research.
Methods
A multi-arm randomized controlled trial was conducted from November 2017 through November 2018. Adult patients (n = 734) were recruited from 4 family medicine clinics in Florida. Using a tablet computer, participants were randomized to (1) a standard e-consent (standard), (2) an e-consent containing standard information plus hyperlinks to additional interactive details (interactive), or (3) an e-consent containing standard information, interactive hyperlinks, and factual messages about data protections and researcher training (trust-enhanced). Satisfaction (1 to 5), subjective understanding (0 to 100), and other outcomes were measured immediately, at 1 week, and at 6 months.
Results
A majority of participants (94%) consented to future uses of their health record information for research. No differences in study outcomes between versions were observed at immediate or 1-week follow-up. At 6-month follow-up, compared with the standard e-consent, participants who used the interactive e-consent reported greater satisfaction (B = 0.43; SE = 0.09; P <.001) and subjective understanding (B = 18.04; SE = 2.58; P <.001). At 6-month follow-up, compared with the interactive e-consent, participants who used the trust-enhanced e-consent reported greater satisfaction (B = 0.9; SE = 1.0; P <.001) and subjective understanding (B = 32.2; SE = 2.6, P <.001).
Conclusions
Patients who used e-consents with interactive research details and trust-enhancing messages reported higher satisfaction and understanding at 6-month follow-up. Research institutions should consider developing and further validating e-consents that interactively deliver information beyond that required by federal regulations, including facts that may enhance patient trust in research.

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