As a health provider, you must have a full understanding of informed consent in healthcare. It is essential before you establish a professional relationship with your patient. Learn what this is, why you need it, what your responsibilities are, and how it affects your relationship as his health care service provider.
Why Have Informed Consent?
According to the Code of Medical Ethics Opinion from the American Medical Association, your patient has the right to be fully informed about what you propose before he voluntarily agrees to them. It allows him to carefully consider his options, both the benefits and risks, to make the best choice for his health.
He can ask any questions he wants about the proposed solution, and you must answer his questions openly and truthfully. You can offer your professional opinion about the recommendations, but ultimately, the decision rests with him.
Once he is satisfied with the information that you provide to him and clearly understands the risks and benefits, he can authorize you to proceed if he chooses to. He will agree to the procedure, protocols, or changes to his daily lifestyle you recommended. The written consent form is signed and becomes an official document.
There is something called implied consent that is less formal than informed consent. Implied consent means your patient suggested that he needs medical care even though it is not written on paper. For instance, if your he comes to you with a cut on his hand and wants it addressed, his consent is implied. However, when the health condition of your patient is at higher risk and more complex, getting your informed consent is essential.
What Are Your Responsibilities?
When you ask for informed consent, your practice has certain obligations.
– You must make sure that your patient understands the information you are presenting to him. It is important to remember that they probably has no background in medicine and, therefore, will not be familiar with the medical terms that describe his condition or the recommendations you propose. Consequently, it is your responsibility to present the information in an accessible format to understand. If needed, use other methods to present this information like charts, tables, video recordings, web presentations, etc. Only when he fully understands would he be able to make the best decision for his health.
– You must present the information accurately and completely, but with sensitivity to their desire to get this information. Examples of informed consent in healthcare include:
– Their health condition
– What your recommendations are, and how you believe you can help
– What benefits are expected
– The possible risks that this presents
– The potential risks if your they do NOT choose to proceed
You should also present alternatives that are not your top recommendation but available. Present the benefits and risks of those alternatives along with resources as well.
Your conversation regarding informed consent and his final decision should be documented in your patient’s file. You should have a written form signed by you and your patient. This form should be included in your their file. When your he signs the form, he agrees to that:
– He has received and understands the information you have presented to him about his condition and options.
– He had the opportunity to ask you questions and discuss his options, and you have answered his questions to his satisfaction.
– He used this information to make a voluntary decision on whether to receive the advice you had recommended. He might only agree to one part and not to the other parts. In that case, this should be documented in the consent form. If you disagree with their decision, you can add a note in the consent form that your patient did not agree to the specific part against your medical advice.
– He understands that when he signs the written consent form, it becomes a binding document.
Why is Informed Consent Important in Medical Care?
The principles of informed consent promotes clear and open communication between you and your patient. It allows you to build a relationship based on trust. Your patient will feel supported by you in the decision-making process in the best interest of his health care.
Getting informed consent avoids any miscommunication or misunderstanding about protocols. You want to avoid having your patient become dissatisfied with your service because he felt like you were not open and honest about his condition. You want to avoid giving them reasons to make statements like, “You never told me about this,” or “If I had known, I would have (or would not have) agreed to the procedure.”
It is also a way to protect your patient and yourself. It shows that you have openly discussed your their health condition, what you recommend, and other options. Your patient has voluntarily agreed to the plan based on your information.
How Does It Affect The Relationship?
Getting permission is more than just getting them to agree to your recommendations. There is also something called the shared-decision making process that is part of the informed consent process. It is when you work together to develop a care plan. In this process, you explain the options to your patient in straightforward, easy-to-understand formats, including the advantages and disadvantages.
Includes tests that you recommend to the patient, options, and procedures. It can consist of nutritional testing, supplements, exercise routines, and more. The process is broad and can cover anything that you believe can benefit your patient, in your professional opinion, that can be part of the plan.
During this process, they will have a chance to ask you questions and digest all the information and resources you have presented. He will take time to research his options. He might also talk it over with his spouse or family members if he values their opinions.
He can also take this chance to tell you his opinions and preferences, values that play into his decision-making, and opinions of loved ones that he values. All this information is essential to help you learn more about your patient as a whole person. It is vital that your patient feels that your practice respects his opinions and choices. You can use this personal information to customize the plan and modify your original recommendation if needed so that your patient feels more in control of his health.
You can see that the process fosters a high-quality relationship between you and your patient. It sets the stage for an open dialog about the care that can build up. When you spend time presenting important information in a way that is easy to understand and digest, your patient will be grateful to you. He will feel more in control of his healthcare and have more confidence in making decisions about his medical care.
What If They Want You To Make the Decisions?
You cannot administer anything if they do not give you informed consent. That does not include medical emergencies when your patient cannot grant permission, like if he is unconscious and has a life-threatening emergency.
In all other situations, if your patient does not want or is unable to make his own healthcare decisions, it is up to him to designate a trusted person to make medical decisions on his behalf and provide documentation. In that case, the conversation and informed consent process should include your patient, his designee, and yourself.
How Can The BioScan System Help?
The BioScan System fits perfectly into helping your patients make a decision about his care so he can give you informed consent. Through biofeedback on specific acupressure points, usually on the hands or feet, the system can test for a myriad of stressors that can negatively affect their health.
Unlike a blood test, the procedure is non-invasive and painless because readings are measured on the skin’s surface where the electrodes are placed.
The BioScan system works because stress agents emit a unique electronic signature. When the body encounters an agent, it responds to the current. The BioScan system has a database of thousands of agents and their respective signals.
The patient’s body responds to these currents, and the BioScan system records the responses with a digital representation. The body reacts as if it is in contact with the actual allergen without an allergic reaction. Therefore, the test is safe even if they are allergic to specific agents.
It measures the level of stress response from the body for each stressor and compiles a report of the results. The advantage of BioScan is that it translates complex data into an easy-to-read, color-coded chart. The results show each stress agent and your patient’s response to each. If the color bar is green, the agent does not cause any stress on the body.
Based on the readings and your research, you can suggest a protocol. If your patient consents and follows it, you can track his progress by testing him with the BioScan system again later. The color-coded chart shows the progress that he has made. If the improvement was not enough, you can work together again to modify the protocol. Establish a two-way discussion to develop a plan together.
Because your patient can see his progress on the BioScan reports, he can use that information to make decisions. No one approach is the best; you can use this data to help him make an informed decision.
Informed consent in healthcare is critical in building a solid relationship between you and your patient. He must get information from you about his health that he can understand. BioScan presents their health status in an easy-to-read chart so your patient can quickly see what part of his health requires attention. Subsequent reports can track his progress, which he can see for himself.
Your patient will appreciate your openness and effort in educating him regarding his well-being. It is the foundation for building trust. Open and honest communication is vital to help your patients feel heard and respected, which is the cornerstone of a solid and healthy relationship.