Knowledge and Practices of Obtaining Informed Consent for Medical Procedures among Specialist Physicians: Questionnaire Study in 6 Croatian Hospitals

Jukić, Marko; Kvolik, Slavica; Kardum, Goran; Kozina, Slavica; Juraga, Ana Tomić
December 2009
Croatian Medical Journal;Dec2009, Vol. 50 Issue 6, p567
Academic Journal
Aim To assess physicians' knowledge and practices for obtaining patients' informed consent to medical procedures. Methods An anonymous and voluntary survey of knowledge and practices for obtaining informed consent was conducted among 470 physicians (63% response rate) working in 6 hospitals: 93 specialists in anesthesiology, 166 in internal medicine, and 211 in surgery. Results Only 54% physicians were acquainted with the fact that the procedure for obtaining consent was regulated by the law. Internists and surgeons were better informed than anesthesiologists (P = 0.024). More than a half of respondents (66%) were familiar with the fact that a law on patient rights was passed in Croatia; there were no differences among different specialties (P = 0.638). Only 38% of the physicians were fully informed about the procedure of obtaining consent. Internists and surgeons provided detailed information to the patient in 33% of the cases and anesthesiologists in 16% of the cases (P < 0.050). Internists reported spending more time on informing the patient than anesthesiologists and surgeons (P < 0.001). There were no differences in knowledge and practices for obtaining informed consent between physicians working in university and those working in community hospitals (P ≥ 0.05 for all questions). Conclusion Physicians in Croatia have no formal education on informed consent and implement the informed consent process in a rather formal manner, regardless of the type of hospital or medical specialty. Systemic approach at education and training at the national level is needed to improve the informed consent process.


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