Informed Consent in Healthcare

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The Doctor and Patient relationship aspect of Medicine has changed drastically in the last twenty years. It has evolved from paternalism (the doctor makes the decision for the patient) to shared decision making where the patient is considered an equal partner in his/her own health related decisions. Informed consent is the cornerstone for this view. When a patient or a research subject makes an autonomous decision after understanding, the risks and benefits involved with the decision is Informed consent. Complete Informed consent covers the following components: competency, disclosure, comprehension and voluntary. Competency refers to the requirement for the individual to be of legal age and be mentally competent to understand the process. Disclosure relates to knowledge of the relevant risks and comprehension means fully understanding the pertinent and factual risks before consent. Voluntary is when the decision is without coercion or duress. (Colston, 2004)

Today Informed consent is a routine process required by law not only in the clinical setting but also in research. In United States, in clinical settings the physician performing the procedure obtains informed consent. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations is responsible for overseeing the implementation of informed consent.

Since the implementation of Informed consent is dependent on the healthcare provider, it varies significantly and hence susceptible to lawsuits. There are no federal law listing the procedures, decisions and tests, which require Informed consent. Hence, it is upon the hospitals and medical professions to decide on the local guidelines for informed consent (Terry, 2010). The legal criteria for determining informed consent div...

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...ts of informed consent competency, disclosure, comprehension and voluntary. In using telehealth for the provider, it is sometimes difficult to judge if the patient fully understands his/her medical condition and the reason for the visit.

Etherapy has its own set of implementation issues concerning informed consent. In counseling one of the most important tools in gauging the patients comprehension or competency is judging their reactions and emotions. In e therapy or phone therapy unless the counselor sees the patient through video it is very difficult to measure comprehension or competency. Moreover, in e therapy the patient sometimes use emoticons to depict their emotions. Nevertheless, the emoticon they choose might not show their true emotion and thus make it difficult for the counselor to gauge their real feelings leading to misdiagnosis or wrong treatment.
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