Replacing Paper Informed Consent with Electronic Informed Consent for Research in Academic Medical Centers: A Scoping Review

AMIA Jt Summits Transl Sci Proc. 2020 May 30:2020:80-88. eCollection 2020.


Although experts have identified benefits to replacing paper with electronic consent (eConsent) for research, a comprehensive understanding of strategies to overcome barriers to adoption is unknown. To address this gap, we performed a scoping review of the literature describing eConsent in academic medical centers. Of 69 studies that met inclusion criteria, 81% (n=56) addressed ethical, legal, and social issues; 67% (n=46) described user interface/user experience considerations; 39% (n=27) compared electronic versus paper approaches; 33% (n=23) discussed approaches to enterprise scalability; and 25% (n=17) described changes to consent elections. Findings indicate a lack of a leading commercial eConsent vendor, as articles described a myriad of homegrown systems and extensions of vendor EHR patient portals. Opportunities appear to exist for researchers and commercial software vendors to develop eConsent approaches that address the five critical areas identified in this review.