The COVID-19 pandemic led to a rapid shift towards remote electronic informed consent (eConsent). We encourage researchers to use evidence-informed practices when designing their eConsent processes.
What is eConsent?
eConsent involves using electronic devices (e.g., computer, tablet, phone) to obtain consent from a potential participant or legally authorized representative.The benefits of eConsent include:
- Enabling consent when face-to-face consent is not possible
- More convenient for researchers and participants
- Increased enrollment potential, including recruitment and enrollment of under-represented populations
Different Types of eConsentGenerally, there are two types of eConsent: 1) Researcher-assisted eConsent
- Involves a live discussion between the potential research participant and a member of the study team
- Discussion may occur remotely (not face-to-face)
- Example: research team members use video conferencing to share their screen and walk participants through an electronic consent form
- Conducted entirely by the participant without study personnel present
- Can be completed by participants on their own time
- Example: participants use a mobile phone consent app
Evidence-Informed Practices for eConsentWhichever type of eConsent you use, there are several evidence-informed practices that can help ensure your participants understand the study information. These practices include:
- Using plain language
- Using appropriate formatting and web design
- Assessing for understanding
If you are interested in using eConsent with legally authorized representatives (LARs), click here.