Evaluation of informed consent in health research: a questionnaire survey
ABSTRACT Informed consent is ethically and legally required for all biomedical and health research involving human participants. This study analyses the realization of informed consent in health research from the point of view of healthy, voluntary adult participants. Empirical studies from this point of view are still rare.
A population-based questionnaire survey.
The study population consisted of 1410 men and women aged 57-78 years who are participants in a randomized controlled intervention trial on the effects of physical exercise and diet at Kuopio Research Institute of Exercise Medicine (eastern Finland).
The data were collected in 2005-2007 using a questionnaire. The questionnaire was given to all able and willing participants (n = 1324) who were still involved in the exercise and diet study at the 3-month intervention visit. The response rate was 91%.
The defined key elements of informed consent were information, understanding, competence, voluntariness and decision-making. A majority of the participants estimated that these key elements were successfully realized in the exercise and diet intervention study.
Despite the general satisfaction with the informed consent process in the exercise and diet intervention study, a minority of the participants were dissatisfied with the information they had received or did not understand this information completely. These findings highlight the essential question: Did all of the participants truly give their genuine informed consent? This carefully executed study reveals objectively the difficulties in distribution of information to healthy adult volunteers.
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ABSTRACT: The conceptual complexity of the term voluntariness has resulted in relatively few empirical studies of the voluntariness component of consent to research. As the call for a formal assessment of voluntariness to be incorporated into the consent process intensifies, more researchers are responding to the challenge of developing a valid and reliable measure of voluntariness. The purpose of this article was to summarize and describe the empirical literature on voluntariness of consent. As part of a broader study on the voluntariness of consent to research, existing empirical studies of voluntariness of consent to research were reviewed to establish how voluntariness of consent to research has been assessed to date. Fifteen studies using different voluntariness assessment instruments were identified and included in the review. The review found that little attempt has been made to systematically collect data on the reliability and validity of voluntariness assessment instruments. No two instruments reviewed were found to be based on a shared conceptualization of voluntary consent to research.Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics 02/2015; 10(2):107-120. DOI:10.1177/1556264615571552 · 1.22 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The recent focus of federal funding on comparative effectiveness research underscores the importance of clinical trials in the practice of evidence-based medicine and health care reform. The impact of clinical trials not only extends to the individual patient by establishing a broader selection of effective therapies, but also to society as a whole by enhancing the value of health care provided. However, clinical trials also have the potential to pose unknown risks to their participants, and biased knowledge extracted from flawed clinical trials may lead to the inadvertent harm of patients. Although conducting a well-designed clinical trial may appear straightforward, it is founded on rigorous methodology and oversight governed by key ethical principles. In this review, we provide an overview of the ethical foundations of trial design, trial oversight, and the process of obtaining approval of a therapeutic, from its pre-clinical phase to post-marketing surveillance. This narrative review is based on a course in clinical trials developed by one of the authors (DJM), and is supplemented by a PubMed search predating January 2011 using the keywords "randomized controlled trial," "patient/clinical research," "ethics," "phase IV," "data and safety monitoring board," and "surrogate endpoint." With an understanding of the key principles in designing and implementing clinical trials, health care providers can partner with the pharmaceutical industry and regulatory bodies to effectively compare medical therapies and thereby meet one of the essential goals of health care reform.Postgraduate Medicine 09/2011; 123(5):194-204. DOI:10.3810/pgm.2011.09.2475 · 1.54 Impact Factor