Signatures on Consent Forms

Situation

Concerns have been raised about the potential risk of COVID-19 transmission via a paper consent form.

Background

All consent forms at PHC continue to be paper-based. There is no capacity within Cerner for an electronic signature, so the question was asked as to what level of risk we are introducing by sharing the paper and pen in order to sign the consent form.

Assessment

It is difficult to assess the level of risk associated with transmission of COVID -19 via the sharing of a piece of paper and pen.  However, a consent form is not a mandatory element of the informed consent process - the form is simply one piece of evidence that an informed consent discussion occurred. Chart notation by the Health Care Provider, including the scope of discussion, the significant risks and benefits considered, questions asked and the ultimate decision of the patient or appropriate Substitute Decision Maker is an acceptable record. 

Recommendation

Have Providers document the informed consent discussion as detailed above in the health care record, including the caveat that a “wet” signature was not obtained in the interest of preventing potential COVID-19 transmission.

 

 

 

 

 

This page last updated Apr 7, 2020 4:17pm PDT