||Background: Informed consent is the autonomy of the patient who involves decision-making after being informed of and understanding the physician.|
Objectives: This study sought to investigate and compare patients’ and physicians’ perceptions of informed consent and the factors that influence their viewpoints on informed consent.
Methods: The subjects were citizens without medical background and physicians working in four hospitals. Self-structured questionnaire was used to gather information. The physicians were recruited from two medical centers, a regional hospital and a district hospital in Kaohsiung. The data is analyzed by SPSS 14.0 and used descriptive statistics, item analysis, factor analysis, chi-square test, Fisher's exact probability test, t-test, and ANOVA.
Results: The response rates were 97% in citizens (n=891) and 79 % in physicians (n=158). As for the concept of informed consent, 55.7% citizens thought that doctor should respect the opinion from the patient and family during the informed consent process. Furthermore, 91.2% the citizens prefer to know the information about their health condition from the physicians rather than from family (8.8%). Regarding the sequence of informing the physical condition, 29.9% citizens also prefer directly from the physician. As for the decision-making process, 55% respondents thought that patient’s own decision is the most important. 52.5% physicians thought that doctor should respect the opinion from both the patient and family and the bad news should be informed by physicians (88.0%) rather than by family. As for the sequence of knowing the bad news, 46.2% physicians preferred to inform family first and inform patient after discussing with family. In decision-making process, 48.7% physicians thought that physician’s opinion was still more important than opinion of patients and family. Further analysis revealed that patients’ gender and the level of family visited hospital have significant difference on the perception of informed consent (p=0.027; p=0.000); gender, age, educational background and living locations also have significant difference on “who to deliver the bad news.” (p=0.006; p=0.004; p=0.035; p=0.012); Citizens’ age, educational background and career have significant influence on their opinion of informed consent of recently visiting doctor (p=0.014; p=0.006; p=0.001). The variables in the physicians’ background have no relation with the means of informing and decision-making. The gender and position of the physician have significant effect on the opinion of practice of informed consent (p=0.015 and p=0.001).
Conclusions: We concluded that the perceptions of informed consent, there was no difference between physicians and citizens; however the citizen chose the patient first, and the physician chose the family first during the process of informed consent. Physicians have better perceptions of informed consent than the common citizens.