ACOG updated its Committee Opinion regarding informed consent and shared decision making in the obstetric and gynecological setting. Many of the key concepts hold true for medical care in general. One of the main elements in the document is providing the context to help the clinician differentiate between informed consent and shared decision making. The two concepts overlap but can also have competing interests when both ethical and legal obligations must be met.
Informed consent is a process to provide patients with information that is necessary and relevant to their decision making (including the risks and benefits of accepting or declining recommended treatment) and to assist patients in identifying the best course of action for their medical care
Shared Decision Making
Shared decision making is a patient-centered, individualized approach to the informed consent process that involves discussion of the benefits and risks of available treatment options in the context of a patient’s values and priorities.
Key Points for Informed Consent
Informed consent requires that relevant information be presented accurately and sensitively about
The diagnosis (when known)
The nature and purpose of recommended interventions
The burdens, risks, and expected benefits of all options, including forgoing treatment
For the sake of simplicity, it is assumed that the adult patient has the capacity to make decisions and it is a nonemergency situation as different steps must be followed
If the patient consents to treatment
Obtain a signed consent form
Document the informed consent process | The form does not replace the informed consent process
If the patient does not consent
The patient cannot be forced to sign that consent was not given
Document the information given and the patient’s nonconsent
Be aware of the prevailing legal standards for the community where care is being rendered
Note: See the companion entry on shared decision making in ‘ObG Related Topics’ below
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Disclosure of Unlabeled Use
This educational activity may contain discussion of published and/or investigational uses of agents that are not indicated by the FDA. The planners of this activity do not recommend the use of any agent outside of the labeled indications.
The opinions expressed in the educational activity are those of the faculty and do not necessarily represent the views of the planners. Please refer to the official prescribing information for each product for discussion of approved indications, contraindications, and warnings.
Participants have an implied responsibility to use the newly acquired information to enhance patient outcomes and their own professional development. The information
presented in this activity is not meant to serve as a guideline for patient management. Any procedures, medications, or other courses of diagnosis or treatment discussed or suggested in this activity should not be used by clinicians without evaluation of their patient’s conditions and possible contraindications and/or dangers in use, review of any applicable manufacturer’s product information, and comparison with recommendations of other authorities.
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