Informed consent in inflammatory bowel disease: a necessity in real-world clinical practice

Informed consent in inflammatory bowel disease: a necessity in real-world clinical practice
Nikolaos Kyriakos, Apostolis Papaefthymiou, Marios Giakoumis, George Iatropoulos, Gerasimos Mantzaris, Christos Liatsos
Annals of Gastroenterology, 3 June 2021; 34(4) pp 466-475
In modern medicine, any medical intervention has to be supported by a patient’s informed consent. Challenges to this process include the specificity and complexity of medical information being provided, the patient’s ability to comprehend the information, the medical uncertainty of the outcomes, and the physician’s legal concerns. Important elements of the consent process are respect for the patient’s autonomy and self-determination, appropriate disclosure and verification of their understanding, and voluntariness. In inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), pharmaceutical treatment carries significant risks, making discussion and illustration of the treatment critical for decision making. This review aims to emphasize the importance of the informed consent process in routine IBD clinical practice, and suggests an appropriate way of informing patients about the medical treatment on offer. The information that has to be comprehensively presented before consent includes: i) treatment goal; ii) basic characteristics of treatment (route and timetable of drug administration, drug efficacy, adverse events); and iii) consequences of staying untreated. The IBD physician’s main concerns must include ensuring not only that the information being provided is detailed and objective, but also that the decision-making process is shared with the patient. Ultimately, the process of obtaining informed consent in real-world clinical practice is undoubtedly of great importance, for both upholding the principles of medical ethics and avoiding legal conflicts.

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