Informed consent challenges and strategies: A qualitative study of the orthodontists' perspective

Orthod Craniofac Res. 2021 Sep 18. doi: 10.1111/ocr.12533. Online ahead of print.


Objective: To identify the barriers and strategies perceived by orthodontists when obtaining consent from their adult patients concerning patients' comprehension or recollection of treatment information.

Settings and sample population: The sample comprised 12 orthodontists working in 8 different cities in Alberta, Canada.

Methods: An exploratory investigation using qualitative inquiry was conducted. Participants were recruited through a combination of purposive, maximum variation and snowball sampling. Data were collected through audio-recorded, semi-structured interviews until saturation was reached. Then, data were analysed using thematic analysis. Quality and credibility were achieved by employing member checks, memo writing and analyst triangulation strategies.

Results: Two major themes were identified, with subthemes: (1) Challenges that may interfere with patients' comprehension and recollection of treatment information (i. patients' internal barriers, ii. patients' external barriers and iii. financial barriers); and (2) strategies to optimize information delivery and communication (i. tailoring the content to be delivered, ii. communication fashion, iii. communication timing and iv. being accommodative).

Conclusion: The participants reported barriers that may be overlooked in the daily routine of orthodontic practices. Information is provided that may guide orthodontists to overcome or minimize these challenges, increase patient comprehension and improve the quality of informed consent processes.

Keywords: informed consent; orthodontics; qualitative research.