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How Often Should Informed Consent Be Obtained In Your Niche Practice?

Contract Paper Documents Signature  - mohamed_hassan / Pixabay

Should patients sign informed consent regularly or just one time? There does not seem to be a clear answer on this question. Some states will have specific language in their practice acts that will outline the standards of informed consent, but there does not appear to be any clear language about how FREQUENT consent should be signed. I have done extensive research online about this subject, so I will sum up my findings and offer my opinions in this article. As always, consult with an attorney or your state boards if you have any questions or need further clarification, even though I doubt they will be much help…

So, how often should patients sign informed consent when it comes to niche practices? When I say niche practices, I am referring to service lines such as weight loss, aesthetics, IV infusion, HRT, etc… General treatment consent for primary care or an urgent care can be filed away and signed just one time in most instances unless something significantly changes in your practice. But with a niche practice, the frequency will depend on the services being provided.

Now, lets get something clear here: ANYTIME you do a procedure, you need to have informed consent signed. It doesn’t matter if they have had the procedure done before (Botox injections for example), the patient should sign consent EACH TIME. Procedures carry a higher liability than prescribing semaglutide for weight loss, therefore the patient needs to consent to that procedure EACH TIME it is done. Again, your states laws will dictate the standard of consent here, but it is VERY WISE to have them sign consent each time. If something negative was to occur, you will be damn HAPPY that the consent was signed here. So, don’t take any chances: HAVE THEM SIGN THE CONSENT EVERY SINGLE TIME WITH A PROCEDURE!

What about minimally invasive services like IV infusion? I would have the patients sign the consent form every single time they come in for the IV infusion. Just have it in the check in paperwork and be done with it. Again, there are no clear laws for this, but you will be happy they signed an informed consent form if something negative was to occur.

When it comes to generalized niche services that are not invasive but diagnostic and prescriptive in nature (HRT, Weight Loss, Coaching, Anti-Aging, etc.), I believe having the patient sign informed consent for each service yearly is sufficient. Many people believe that just having them sign it one time is fine, but in my opinion, having the patient sign informed consent yearly will protect you further during a malpractice proceeding. Just imagine if you were sued by someone who experienced a negative outcome under your care. Imagine the patient stating “I was not aware of these risks associated with the treatment” because they signed a consent for HRT 4 years ago. Well, this argument would not hold up if they signed the consents regularly. Therefore (in my opinion), I would have the patients sign informed consent at least yearly. I do this at my men’s health practice and patients have no problem with it. In fact, many people will ask questions signing it again as they might not have been aware of a specific risk. Not only does this protect you, but it informs the patient!

Another aspect with informed consent you need to consider is if something changes with the treatment services in your practice. Let’s say you decide to offer a new service like peptides or weight loss in your practice, but you are relying on an old, informed consent form that the patient signed 2 years ago. Think to yourself “did that old consent form include these new services I implemented just a month ago?” The answer will be PROBABLY NOT! Therefore, if something changes within your practice such as different medications, diagnostic tests, or additional services, then ensure you UPDATE your informed consent and have the patient sign a new one.

I did this recently when I integrated human growth hormone into my men’s health practice to treat chronic degenerative issues/pain in some of my older men. I did not rely on my old consent for growth hormone secreting peptides as the treatment is different. I had these patients sign a NEW consent specific to growth hormone. I also had my patients sign new telemedicine consent forms when I began seeing more and more patients via telemedicine!

To sum this up:

Have patients sign informed consent EVERY TIME you perform a procedure even if they have had it done before. This includes Botox injections and even IV infusion!

Have patients sign informed consent forms at least yearly in your niche practice.

Have patients sign new UPDATED informed consent forms anytime something changes with your treatment services.

Have patients sign treatment consent one time in basic service lines such as primary care.

This is a short article today as it does not need to be longer and filled with fluff. Remember the above RECOMMENDATIONS and integrate them into your practice. It won’t hurt anything to cover your ass regularly and to keep your patients informed about the treatments you are providing!

4 Responses

    1. Which article are you referring to?

      Potential thyroid cancer with semaglutide is a minimal risk IMO. I think Semaglutide is overall a safe medication to little liability in most practical applications.

  1. Do you have a consent and office fundamentals type of package? Includes consents and protocols for all of the services? Or do you do a discount for purchasing multiple courses? I am looking mostly for consents as I want to streamline what Ive already got and keep it consistent.

    1. We do not have a consent or office fundamentals course as each consent, intake, policy, etc… is customized to the specific service line. If you want to bundle courses, then simply email me and we can set something up if you need it. theelitenp@elitenp.com

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