Informed Consent in Acute Care

September 16, 2022 | Health System Risk Management


​​​Informed consent is a legal and ethical concept rooted in supporting an individual's right to autonomy, their healthcare goals, and their decisions made to achieve those goals. Federal and state regulations and accreditation standards require healthcare providers to facilitate, obtain, and document informed consent discussions in order to support patient safety and person-centered care best practices. A comprehensive informed consent process can actualize both concept and practice through shared decision making, which creates a partnership between patients and providers that accomplishes the ultimate goal of safe, effective healthcare delivery.

Informed consent is a process of communication between a patient and provider that culminates in the authorization or refusal of a healthcare intervention (AMA). (Informed consent is also required of research participants in clinical trials, which is outside the scope of this article, but is addressed in Clinical Trials: Risk, Safety, and Liability and Institutional Review Boards. ) The informed consent process—as established and guided by professional codes of ethics, statutes, regulations, accreditation standards, and case law—involves multiple elements:

Clinical Trials: Risk, Safety, and Liability

Institutional Review Boards

​​​The key to these elements is clear communication. Clinicians must provide essential and comprehensive information related to proposed treatments, procedures, or health services, and do so in an understandable manner that accounts for the patient's cultural, linguistic, and literacy needs.

Topics discussed include, but...

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