Document Detail

Sources of patient uncertainty when reviewing medical disclosure and consent documentation.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23131417     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
OBJECTIVES: Despite evidence that medical disclosure and consent forms are ineffective at communicating the risks and hazards of treatment and diagnostic procedures, little is known about exactly why they are difficult for patients to understand. The objective of this research was to examine what features of the forms increase people's uncertainty. METHODS: Interviews were conducted with 254 individuals. After reading a sample consent form, participants described what they found confusing in the document. With uncertainty management as a theoretical framework, interview responses were analyzed for prominent themes. RESULTS: Four distinct sources of uncertainty emerged from participants' responses: (a) language, (b) risks and hazards, (c) the nature of the procedure, and (d) document composition and format. CONCLUSIONS: Findings indicate the value of simplifying medico-legal jargon, signposting definitions of terms, removing language that addresses multiple readers simultaneously, reorganizing bulleted lists of risks, and adding section breaks or negative space. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: These findings offer suggestions for providing more straightforward details about risks and hazards to patients, not necessarily through greater amounts of information but rather through more clear and sufficient material and better formatting.
Erin Donovan-Kicken; Michael Mackert; Trey D Guinn; Andrew C Tollison; Barbara Breckinridge
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-11-3
Journal Detail:
Title:  Patient education and counseling     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1873-5134     ISO Abbreviation:  Patient Educ Couns     Publication Date:  2012 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-11-7     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8406280     Medline TA:  Patient Educ Couns     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Department of Communication Studies, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, USA. Electronic address:
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