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The Form of the Documentation

There is no single best way to document informed consent. In some situations, such as an immunization clinic, having the patient sign a preprinted consent form is optimal. In other situations, such as elective experimental treatment, a videotape of the physician's talking to the patient may be desirable. The form of documentation must fit the circumstances of the actual transaction between the physician and the patient. The most important consideration is that the documentation reflect the physician's conversation with the patient. "The patient was given the appropriate information and consented to the treatment" is too brief and vague. Long preprinted forms tend to be so broad that it is not possible to establish that they describe the actual conversation with a specific patient.



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