From Actors to Authors: A First Account About the Involvement of Patients in the Informed Consent Governance of a Major Italian Translational Research Hospital
The Journal of ambulatory care management 2010 Jul-Sep; 33(3): 231-40
From 2007 to 2009 Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, one of the major public research hospitals in Italy, has invested on a participatory action to promote a good practice of informed consent. The project focused on the improvement and innovation of informed consent considered as a participated act through the involvement of all the actors at stake. The main purpose was to improve the informative practices through the participatory innovation of institutional and organizational elements as conditions of possibility. Therefore the project has pursued the involvement of managers, healthcare professionals, patients and their associations in the institutional governance of informed consent. The involvement of citizens and patients within the whole process meant to put them in charge not just as actors or final evaluators of a good practice, but as co-authors in defining standards, tools and conditions for a good practice. Several actions were taken, including a phase of analysis which involved 20 patients from 8 Associations, a phase of innovation and education where 113 patients and citizens worked together with clinicians from 53 Units in deliberative laboratories, the institution of a multidisciplinary committee inclusive of representatives from 6 associations of patients. The project has produced different outcomes: new institutional guidelines adopted by the hospital; the renewal of consent forms and procedures as part of an explicit shared informative process; an increased implementation of institutional standards of good informative practice; the measure and communication of the outcomes of care and their bench-marking; bottom-up building of paths of validation; the creation of participatory electronic tools; an innovative education on the field for patients and clinicians.
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