Written Informed Consent—Translating into Plain Language. A Pilot Study

Written Informed Consent—Translating into Plain Language. A Pilot Study
Agnieszka Zimmermann, Anna Pilarska, Aleksandra Gaworska-Krzemińska, Jerzy Jankau, Marsha N. Cohen
Healthcare, 20 February 2021; 9(2)
Abstract
Background
Informed consent is important in clinical practice, as a person’s written consent is required prior to many medical interventions. Many informed consent forms fail to communicate simply and clearly. The aim of our study was to create an easy-to-understand form.
Methods
Our assessment of a Polish-language plastic surgery informed consent form used the Polish-language comprehension analysis program (jasnopis.pl, SWPS University) to assess the readability of texts written for people of various education levels; and this enabled us to modify the form by shortening sentences and simplifying words. The form was re-assessed with the same software and subsequently given to 160 adult volunteers to assess the revised form’s degree of difficulty or readability.
Results
The first software analysis found the language was suitable for people with a university degree or higher education, and after revision and re-assessment became suitable for persons with 4–6 years of primary school education and above. Most study participants also assessed the form as completely comprehensible.
Conclusions
There are significant benefits possible for patients and practitioners by improving the comprehensibility of written informed consent forms.

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