The Informed Consent Form Navigator: A Tool for Producing Readable and Compliant Consent Documents

The Informed Consent Form Navigator: A Tool for Producing Readable and Compliant Consent Documents
Jonathan P. Bona, Joseph Utecht, Aaron S. Kemp, Jennifer M. Gan, Alison Caballero, Christopher R. Trudeau, Mathias Brochhausen, Laura James
Journal of Clinical and Translational Science, December 2022 [preprint]
Open Access
Abstract
Background/Objective
Informed consent forms (ICFs) and practices vary widely across institutions. This project expands on previous work at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Center for Health Literacy to develop a plain language ICF template. Our interdisciplinary team of researchers, comprised of biomedical informaticists, health literacy experts, and stakeholders in the Institutional Review Board (IRB) process, has developed the ICF Navigator, a novel tool to facilitate the creation of plain language ICFs that comply with all relevant regulatory requirements.
Methods
Our team first developed requirements for the ICF navigator tool. The tool was then implemented by a technical team of informaticists and software developers, in consultation with an informed consent legal expert. We developed and formalized a detailed knowledge map modeling regulatory requirements for ICFs, which drives workflows within the tool.
Results
The ICF Navigator is a web-based tool that guides researchers through creating an ICF as they answer questions about their project. The navigator uses those responses to produce a clear and compliant ICF, displaying a real-time preview of the final form as content is added. Versioning and edits can be tracked to facilitate collaborative revisions by the research team and communication with the IRB. The navigator helps guide the creation of study-specific language, ensures compliance with regulatory requirements, and ensures that the resulting ICF is easy to read and understand.
Conclusion
The ICF Navigator is an innovative, customizable, open-source software tool that helps researchers produce custom readable and compliant ICFs for research studies involving human subjects.

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