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Study finds patients benefit from thorough discussion of recommended operations
Date:7/7/2010

CHICAGO (July 7, 2010) Surgical patients who participate in longer󈝻- to 30-minute discussions prior to having an operation (known as the informed consent process) better understand the proposed operation, according to new research published in the June issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. In addition, researchers found that asking the patient to "repeat back" their understanding of the procedure was effective in enhancing patient comprehension of informed consent issues. This is the largest study ever conducted on the surgical informed consent process.

Informed consent for surgical procedures is a critical part of surgical patient care. When effective, the informed consent process enables the patient to make rational, independent decisions. Unfortunately, numerous studies demonstrate that the average patient has an inadequate comprehension of the issues related to surgical procedures including a recent literature survey of over 700 patients that found the average patient understood less than half of the relevant informed consent issues related to the recommended surgical procedure.

"In our study, we found that patients with potential cultural or language difficulties from factors such as race, education or age may limit informed consent comprehension," said Aaron S. Fink, MD, FACS, attending surgeon at the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center and chief surgical consultant for VA Network 7, and professor of surgery at Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta. "But all patients benefitted from what we found was the strongest influence on patient comprehension extending the amount of time spent on informed consent discussions, as well as having the patient repeat back their understanding of the proposed procedure."

Researchers identified 575 patients in seven Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers from August 2006 to June 2008. Patients were enrolled in the study if they were sc
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Contact: Sally Garneski
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Source:Eurekalert

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