With a meeting of such high energy and exchange of ideas as described in Telluride less than two short weeks ago, there is much to digest. The key is to keep the momentum going along with the exchange of ideas here on the blog. For inspiration, it helps to read about those caregivers at the front lines who are successfully implementing unwavering patient centered care that begins with a patient-physician partnership, and true informed consent. Dr. Harlan Krumholz who recently penned an article published in a March 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association entitled “Informed Consent to Promote Patient-Centered Care” is adamant about putting patients first. He shares that many patients are going in for procedures, that if they truly understood all the related risks, benefits and alternatives, they may not be signing the consent forms at all.
And while there is continued discussion over the amount of information a patient should be given related to their procedure, the true answers lie with the patient. If the patient is never invited into the decision-making process surrounding their care and given as much information as needed to make that decision, what are they really consenting to have done? A movement away from using the consent form as a waiver of responsibility, and instead using it as an invitation to discuss and educate a patient, builds a foundation of trust that a meaningful patient-provider relationship can be built upon.
For some creative ideas on how to improve your informed consent process, search out information on what other providers are doing. A brief piece on the same can be found at: http://www.hhnmag.com/hhnmag_app/jsp/articledisplay.jsp?dcrpath=HHNMAG/Article/data/07JUL2010/1007HHN_Inbox_patientcare&domain=HHNMAG