Background: The process of informed consent in National Institutes of Health randomized, placebo-controlled trials is poorly studied. There are several issues regarding informed consent in emergency neurologic trials, including a shared decision-making process with the patient or a legally authorized representative about overall risks, benefits, and alternative treatments. Methods: To evaluate the informed consent process, we collected best and worst informed consent practice information from a National Institutes of Health trial and used this in medical simulation videos to educate investigators at multiple sites to improve the consent process. Clot Lysis: Evaluating Accelerated Resolution of Intraventricular Hemorrhage Phase III (CLEAR III) (clinicaltrials.gov, NCT00784134) studied the effect of intraventricular alteplase (n = 251) versus saline (placebo) injections (n = 249) for intraventricular hemorrhage reduction. Reasons for ineligibility (including refusing to consent) for all screen failures were analyzed. The broadcasted presentation outlined best practices for doctor–patient interactions during the consenting process, as well as anecdotal, study-specific reasons for consent refusal. Best and worst consent elements were then incorporated into a simulation video to enhance the informed consent process. This video was disseminated to trial sites as a webinar around the midpoint of the trial to improve the consent process. Pre- and post-intervention consent refusals were compared. Results: During the trial, 10,538 patients were screened for eligibility, of which only three were excluded due to trial timing. Pre-intervention, 77 of 5686 (1.40%) screen eligible patients or their proxies refused consent. Post-intervention, 55 of 4849 (1.10%) refused consent, which was not significantly different from pre-intervention (P = 0.312). The incidence of screen failures was significantly lower post-intervention (P = 0.006), possibly due to several factors for patient exclusion. Conclusion: The informed consent process for prospective randomized trials may be enhanced by studying and refining best practices based on trial-specific plans and patient concerns particular to a study.
- Best practice
- Randomized controlled trial
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine