For which routine procedures would you advise getting signed informed consent forms?
In our practice, we do not use informed consent forms for general everyday procedures. We looked at this issue extensively from a risk perspective, and considered whether we wanted to have a signed form for routine procedures. We found it inconvenient and off-putting for patients, and at the same time, the consent form in and of itself does not release us from any type of professional liability or responsibility. We know that there are many barriers to hearing aid use to begin with, and we feel that going in to the process by discussing remote risks associated with ear impression taking or hearing testing was not a benefit to the patients or to us. We do use informed consent forms when we perform cerumen removal, and the form lists the contraindications for the procedure. The use of this form reminds providers to review these contraindications with the patient, and it also spells them out for the patient so that they can alert their provider when they have a contraindication. Again, it doesn’t limit our liability but it may help to keep open communications between the provider and the patient.
This Ask the Expert was taken from the AudiologyOnline recorded course, Preventing Medical Errors.