Where does your dental practice stand when it comes to dental consent form compliance? Documenting informed consent is an important ethical and legal requirement in dentistry. In this article we’ll walk you through critical points you should be aware of when it comes to dental consent forms.
Documentation of a patient’s informed consent signifies that the patient understands any involved risks vs benefits, along with the terms of care of a proposed procedure or treatment, and has given written consent to proceed.
Documenting a patient’s informed consent also provides legal protection, as it becomes concrete that the patient gave consent, protecting the provider and practice from related malpractice lawsuits. Dental consent forms allow for better transparency between the provider and patient, which is critical for establishing trust.
1. Possible Risks
By elaborating on details about the patient’s proposed treatment plan or procedure, dental consent forms play a crucial role in patient understanding. The objectives of the treatment become transparent, and the patient is better aware of the potential risks involved.
With this information at hand, patients are better able to make an informed decision about their dental care, as they can more adequately understand the nature of the procedure, what outcomes to expect, and any possible complications.
By providing clear, comprehensive information about their options, dental consent forms help patients make informed choices about their dental care.
2. Written Consent
A patient’s informed consent is obtained via a process in which the patient gives authorization for a procedure after being well-informed on the necessary information. Dental consent forms are the documentation source of written consent, providing important details of the procedure that the patient must be made aware of.
They foster an open channel of communication that is essential between patients and providers, improving patient satisfaction.
3. Protection from Liability
As a legal document, dental consent forms outline procedure details, with all pertinent information. A patient's voluntary signature on the form signifies their understanding and approval for treatment.
Written consent protects providers in case of liability lawsuits related to the treatment or procedure, and it supplies evidence of the patient’s voluntary consent to the treatment, with a sound understanding of the implications.
4. Facilitates Communication
Easy-to-understand communication is what patients are wanting from providers when it comes to explaining treatments and procedures. Dental consent forms can be written in a way that is comprehensible and free of complex terminology, making them more patient-friendly.
Additionally, patients trust their providers more if they are informed in advance of what outcomes or side effects could potentially arise from the treatment. The implementation of dental consent forms also prevents misunderstandings about the procedure.
Read Also: Benefits of Paperless Dental Consent Forms
5. Document Evidence
Official written evidence is critical to have when it comes to safeguarding practitioners and practices. Patients also are better secured with documented evidence that provides them with all they need to know about procedures or treatments they will undergo.
Dental consent forms serve as a legally binding agreement that can be used as substantiation if needed for legal proceedings. Having this written agreement between a patient and provider is critical on so many levels when it comes to potential disputes or misunderstandings.
The dental consent form should contain all the shared information about what the patient has been informed of, including potential outcomes that the provider is not accountable for. Having the documented authorization is a necessary piece before proceeding with treatment.
6. Aligns Expectations
As a provider, you want your patient’s expectations of treatment outcomes to be in alignment with reality. A lot of times patients have high hopes for results that are not practical, and that is where dental consent forms play a huge role.
By clearly laying out what the proposed treatment is expected to result in for the patient, you’ll be saving yourself and the patient from disappointment later on. With almost any treatment comes a regimen period of care, and unpleasant side effects.
Being straightforward with patients about these potential aspects will win over their trust and better allow them to make decisions they will not regret later on. Clear communication via dental consent forms, and verbal with patients, is an important part of the treatment process.
7. Assists in Dispute Resolution
In the event of a dispute between a patient and provider regarding the outcomes or related matters of a treatment or procedure, a signed dental consent form serves an important role.
Dental consent forms can be critical in dispute resolution, or as evidence in malpractice lawsuits, as they will lay out exactly what has been agreed upon, along with the written and noted communications between the parties.
So long as the dental consent form includes the information required, and clarifies what has been agreed upon, it serves as a vital asset in resolving disputes between the patient and provider.
8. Reference for Future Treatment
Future treatment can include post-operative care and management of procedures, in addition to necessary referrals for further treatment. Dental consent forms are an important part of communicating to patients what they should expect post-treatment and any additional procedures that may be necessary.
Patients feel reassured when their provider informs them of what to expect post-treatment and any following care that may be expected. It helps build a better relationship, improve patient satisfaction, and avoid misunderstandings.
9. Improves Patient Care
Dental consent forms contribute to improving many aspects of patient care. When patients feel well-informed and a part of the decision-making process, they are much more likely to view their experience as pleasant, and satisfactory.
Compliance from the patient’s end also has a better follow-through when they understand the reasoning behind the required care, and what could result from noncompliance. By having these important guidelines laid out in the dental consent form, it will be easier for both the patient and provider to be on the same page.
10. Regulatory Compliance
The standards of care and documentation compliance in dentistry are vital for providers to understand and follow for ensuring proper consent processes. By utilizing dental consent forms for their intended purposes, providers can feel better assured that they have performed their legal and ethical obligation in so far as educating and informing patients adequately prior to a procedure or treatment.
The provider’s proper use of dental consent forms demonstrates their support for regulatory compliance, in taking the necessary steps to acquire a patient’s informed and voluntary consent for a procedure or treatment.
Read Also: Why Dental Consent Forms are Important
Documenting a patient’s informed consent via dental consent forms is a vital part of the treatment process for many reasons. Thousands of dental practices across the U.S. have successfully revolutionized the way they obtain consent, by streamlining their consent documentation process.
mConsent has become one of the most highly sought-after software solutions that cut down documentation time by 35% and save practices ~$60K/year just by going paperless. Find out how mConsent can make your dental practice paperless, and improve your documentation process.