BACKGROUND: The concept of informed consent is fundamental to medical practice. Shortcomings in the process can lead to patient complaints, litigation, unmet expectations and poor outcomes. Consent research has focused on developing tools to improve patient recall and understanding. However, the definitions, methods of measurement and timing of measurement vary widely across the studies that have been done. Although a Cochrane review has reported that many of these interventions appear to work, the high level of heterogeneity in outcome reporting prevents the identification of those interventions that work best and why they do so. It is also not clear which outcomes are most important to each party involved in the consent process and why.
METHODS/DESIGN: This project will develop a core outcome set for assessing the effects of interventions aimed at improving informed consent for surgery and other invasive procedures for adult patients with the capacity to consent for themselves. We will conduct a systematic review of the qualitative and quantitative literature to identify outcomes used to date in consent research and map these into domains. A series of semi-structured key stakeholder interviews will also be used to identify relevant outcomes. These processes will produce a list of potential outcomes for assessing the effects of interventions to improve consent, which will be refined through an international Delphi survey and consensus webinars involving key stakeholders to produce the core outcome set.
DISCUSSION: The ICONS study aims to develop a core outcome set for use in trials and reviews of interventions designed to improve the informed consent process for surgery and other invasive procedures. Our aim is that this core outcome set will reduce the level of selection and reporting bias in consent research and help clinicians to compare tools to improve consent.
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Supervisor: Clarke, M. (Supervisor) & Kirk, S. (Supervisor)
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis › Doctor of Philosophy