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Survey Looks at Patient Attitudes Regarding Informed Consent

Most respondents want to be asked for permission to participate in studies assessing medical practice

WEDNESDAY, April 15, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Most U.S. adults would prefer to be asked for permission to participate in studies assessing usual medical practices, according to a study published online April 14 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Mildred K. Cho, Ph.D., from Stanford University in California, and colleagues examined the attitudes of U.S. adults towards risks and preferences for notification and consent for research on medical practices. Data were included from a web-based questionnaire completed by 805 adults sampled from an online panel and 290 from an online convenience river sample.

The researchers found that 97 percent of respondents agreed that health systems should assess standard therapies. In each of three scenarios involving medical record review and randomization of usual medical practices, most respondents wanted to be asked for permission to participate (range, 75.2 to 80.4 percent), even if it involved only review of medical records. If obtaining written permission would make the research too difficult to conduct, most would accept non-written (oral) permission or general notification (range, 70.2 to 82.7 percent). For each scenario, most perceived additional risk (range, 64.0 to 81.6 percent).

"Most respondents preferred to be asked for permission to participate in observational and randomized research evaluating usual medical practices, but they are willing to accept less elaborate approaches than written consent if research would otherwise be impracticable," the authors write.

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