Teaching Hospitals Examine New Ways to Convey Research Risks, Benefits to Patients | AAMC Reporter

I find it encouraging to see researchers looking for innovative ways to improve the informed consent process. However, given the United States’ low health literacy—well, low literacy in general—I find true informed consent to be an elusive ideal. I think it would be prudent for Institutional Review Boards, especially non-medical community members, to make this an area of interest when reviewing proposals.

I believe the biggest challenge is not necessarily the complicated biomedical science that may be involved, but the probabilistic nature of research. When a research question has true equipoise, we really don’t know what will happen. That is a difficult concept to explain and even harder one to wrap your head around when facing an illness.