eConsent for Research Sites

by Jim Gearhart

Most of You Want to Give eConsent a Test Drive

Buying a new car is a major decision. What do you want in your next vehicle? Safety? Familiarity? Performance? It’s not always easy to replace the reliable machine that has carried you for so many miles and so many years without generating any complaints. Well, maybe there have been a few complaints, but that’s fine, because you understand the car’s quirks and sometimes those flaws are, in their own way, comforting.

Adopting an electronic informed consent (eConsent) product for a research study might feel like replacing that old, familiar car, but many in medical research say they’re ready to give it a try. At industry trade shows over the past two years Quorum Review IRB has asked about interest in eConsent, and responses have been affirmative and enthusiastic. Most people in the industry tell us they would support taking a secure and interactive eConsent tool out for a spin.

Of course, committing to a new car is only the beginning; next you must decide what features are most important. You may want to improve on the previous model, but not lose anything you love about it.

 

Time for a New Ride?

In 2016, we started asking trade show attendees their thoughts on eConsent. We have collected 567 survey responses across nine tradeshows and conferences. Over 80% of you said you would support an eConsent initiative from your site, institution, or sponsor. About 70% said you would go further and advocate for introducing the new technology. Throughout 2017, those numbers held steady, and even climbed a bit. By the end of the year, 83% of respondents said they would at least call shotgun seat for an eConsent product, and 75% of you were willing to get behind the wheel.

 

What Features Make You Want to Turn the Key?

What drives this support for eConsent? Is it the power of online programming under the hood? Maybe the added safety features that prevent errors and protect privacy attract you. Could it be the better acceleration at study startup? Our survey asked about important eConsent attributes. Step into the showroom and see the results:

Error-free consenting, or “I’ll take the self-driving Swedish sedan” – 52%

  • In the survey responses, the greatest appeal of eConsent was improved accuracy. While the most interest in accuracy came from attendees at site-oriented conferences such as those sponsored by Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) and Model Agreements & Guidelines International (MAGI), a solid majority of all potential drivers would choose an eConsent product to reduce errors in versioning and distribution. When the latest model of eConsent can harness computing power to track versions, update changes quickly, and verify agreement, over half of you say you’re ready to push the power button.

Participant engagement, or “We want the minivan with DVD screens and 13 cup holders” – 44%

  • Many of our potential drivers want something that will accommodate everyone. Those who work primarily in human subject research expressed interest in the participant-oriented aspects of eConsent, the features that will carry the most people on a journey and keep them engaged throughout.

Integrate with the IRB, or “I drive for the office carpool” – 43%

Quick study setup, or “Give me the little red Coupe” – 28%

  • Site, sponsor, and contract research organization (CRO) attendees looked toward study efficiencies as important eConsent features. At conferences where CROs and sponsors had a strong presence, such as Drug Information Association (DIA), the possibility that eConsent could accelerate study start-up ranked highly, but still below that all-around favorite, error-free consenting.

When you’re ready for a new car, it’s important to understand what models are out there and which ones meet your needs. Sometimes drivers have to compromise on certain features in order to gain those that are at the top of the wish list. If you’re shopping for an eConsent product, consider what features are essential to you and pick a product that gives you the kind of ride you desire. Quorum has its own model for your viewing. Let us know if you’d like to take a test drive.

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