Background:: The purpose of this study was to evaluate long-term recall of elements of informed consent.
Methods:: Men enrolling in a biobank for a study of prostate cancer were randomized to traditional or computer-based consenting. Two-page questionnaires were mailed to participants six months after the consent process.
Results:: Thirty-five men were randomized to the computer-based arm and 36 to the traditional consenting arm. Follow-up questionnaires were returned by 25 in the computer-based and 31 in the traditional group. The men ranged in age from 55 to 86 years (mean 73.2). Participants in the computer-based group were more likely to answer some of the knowledge questions correctly. The computer-based respondents were more likely to report higher levels of understanding for 13 of 14 statements.
Discussion:: The computer-based consenting process decreased staff time required and lead to improved retention of the elements of informed consent. It has been adopted prospectively.