The Importance of Informed Consent

The Importance of Informed Consent

One of the most commonly asked questions is “why is informed consent so important?”

Whilst discussing informed consent in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Kakar et al. state that “without informed consent to treatment, a dentist is vulnerable to criticism on a number of counts.” They continue on to say “any practitioners who cannot demonstrate that a patient has properly consented to treatment are laying themselves open to litigation.” Gaining a patient’s consent is now, more than ever, crucial for dentists following the landmark case of Montgomery vs Lanarkshire

So how do you get informed consent? 

To gain informed consent from a patient, a dentist needs to be able to prove that their patient has been provided with the relevant information and had the time to understand and ask questions about their upcoming treatment. Main et al. propose that since the Montgomery ruling in 2015 mentioned above, “the law is aligned more closely with professional standards” suggesting that clinicians are required to “spend time with patients discussing the risks, intended benefits, and reasonable alternative options before seeking consent to proceed”

Main et al. also talk about the “process of shared decision-making” that takes place, resulting in clinician and patient “agreeing on an appropriate treatment plan that best fits the patient’s goals, circumstance and beliefs”. 

How does Flynotes help with informed consent?

Flynotes acts as a virtual assistant to the dentist, using AI technology Flynotes sets out a consenting process for the patient that mirrors the natural conversion with the dentist. In just a few clicks, Flynotes creates a tailored consent process that allows the patient to clearly understand all aspects of consent (as set out by the Montgomery ruling). 

At Flynotes we understand patients are not normally dentists and therefore, our interactive consent process allows the patient to understand each area of consent, visualise any increased risks due to their medical history or medications, and ask questions. Providing patients with information that is easily legible and effortlessly navigable audits the interaction with the consent. 

Going one step further, Flynotes offers patients the option to view the alternative procedures available, with their own bespoke risks and benefits, to ensure that they are fully informed about their upcoming treatment. 

As such, Flynotes helps dentists by assisting them in taking steps towards becoming ‘legally compliant’ when gaining informed consent before a procedure. We understand that clinicians are likely to face capacity and patient proxy situations, therefore you are still able to gain an informed bespoke consent when using the Patient Proxy functionality offered in Flynotes. We have a separate blog post which discusses Capacity and Patient Proxy in Dentistry, let us know what you think.

J Family Med Prim Care. 2014 Jan-Mar; 3(1): 68–71. DOI: 10.4103/2249-4863.130284

Main et al. BMC Medical Ethics (2017) 18:29 DOI 10.1186/s12910-017-0188-7