Clinical trial design helps in Veristat study and evaluate different diseases to find the best medical and behavioral interventions. However, this process can be lengthy, tedious, and prone to many errors. Some of these errors are seen when seeking patient consent through paper means. However, better alternatives are available, such as eConsent. In this post, we will look at how eConsent enhances research conduct, starting with:
What is eConsent?
eConsent is the electronic documentation of informed consent. The use of eConsent helps improve the presentation of information and enables potential study participants to provide freely informed consent for recruitment. These technologies include interactive interfaces, such as websites, and digital media such as videos. With the help of tools like video conferences, phone calls, and eConsent platforms, using eConsent in clinical trial planning can promote informed consent over great distances. Various media can make the clinical trial more participatory and help the potential participant better comprehend it. eConsent enhances research conduct through the following:
Organizations like the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have acknowledged E-consent as a reliable substitute for traditional face-to-face consenting processes. Participants who cannot physically visit healthcare services or manually fill out consent forms can benefit from e-consenting. This enables research studies to reach a wider audience and increases the inclusion of research participants who might otherwise be shut out owing to common obstacles such as mobility or frailty concerns, distance from the study’s location, or travel expenses. By allowing underrepresented groups or participants from remote areas who would otherwise be unable to participate in research to do so, e-consenting may help increase participant diversity and inclusion.
Increases patient engagement
Information can be enhanced through e-consenting platforms in ways that paper formats cannot. The use of audio-visual enhancements may increase participant engagement with study documents. Platforms incorporating brief quizzes can also be used to gauge user knowledge and identify questions that need clarification before consent is given. Using a video can also aid in standardizing the consenting process by ensuring that all participants receive the same information.
Reduced cross-infection and research timelines
The use of eConsent lessens physical interactions between patients and doctors. In cases of infections and viruses, eConsent can help reduce cross-infection and the spread of the virus. Additionally, switching from hard-copy signatures to e-consent and electronic signatures may result in more tangible advantages, enhancing research processes by lowering the time and logistical complexity of collecting hard-copy-signed consent data. Moreover, it reduces errors related to the preservation and storage of paper consent forms, facilitates data searchability for recruitment, and makes auditing and quality control checks easier. The most crucial benefit is that it helps reduce participants’ habitual “just check to agree” tendencies when reading lengthy text documents.
By providing a practical and reliable alternative to paper and face-to-face consenting procedures, e-consent may make it easier to do research. However, paper-based choices should still be available, depending on participant needs. Nevertheless, customizing e-consenting platforms may boost engagement with research information and increase accessibility for those with special needs.