Julie Smith, Content Director, EIDO Healthcare

Informed consent plays a major role in every surgeon-patient relationship, and the importance of getting it right cannot be overstated. In this article, Julie Smith (Content Director, EIDO Healthcare) considers the state of informed consent and explains the benefits relating to patient information that are now available to those OTSIS members whose insurance policies are with the Underwriter CFC.

Informed consent in a post-pandemic world

It may be optimistic to refer to the ‘post-pandemic world’ as we are most certainly not out of the woods yet. However, if the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown and back to normality is seen through to the end, that is where we will be before the end of this year.

Digital developments

The pandemic forced major changes in healthcare delivery. Hospitals, clinics, and GP surgeries shut their doors to all but essential face-to-face appointments. Many patients and health professionals became au fait with mobile technology, joining appointments via video link, scanning QR codes for Track and Trace and, most recently, booking vaccinations online.

In a similar vein, EIDO has developed digital options for informed consent that allow health professionals to send information directly to a patient’s device. Patients can review the surgical procedure information content digitally, make notes on the system and even ‘sign’ the initial consent form. Clinicians can review the form, patient notes and even see how long the patient spent on each section of the form. Consent is then confirmed in person on the day of the procedure.

Less haste, more speed

All these developments are aimed at reducing time spent in a hospital or clinic, saving clinician time, and cutting back on resources such as paper and printer usage. If used properly, these tools really can help us to live and work more safely and efficiently in a post-pandemic world. However, they should not replace those all-important face-to-face conversations that must take place before a patient gives their consent to surgery.

While time-saving opportunities are invaluable now more than ever, rushing through processes is not acceptable. Patients must be given ample time to consider their options – those all-important BRAN principles (Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, do Nothing), and ask any questions they might have. If this process is rushed, it cannot be claimed that the patient has made a truly informed shared decision, and clinicians are at risk of consent litigation.

Health inequality

It’s important to remember that not everyone has access to (or indeed interest in) advanced mobile technology. In our rush to embrace exciting new products and technologies, we must not leave any patients behind. For many people, access to smartphones, laptops, or the internet is limited, or even non-existent. Information presented in clear language, printed on good old-fashioned paper, translated into the appropriate language or simplified to meet a patient’s needs is a basic human right. As with every other step of a patient’s healthcare journey, their individual needs must be considered.

EIDO and CFC – member benefits 

If you have an insurance policy underwritten by CFC, one of the key benefits is access to EIDO’s tools to support informed consent:

  1. Inform – a procedure-specific library of informed consent content to provide to patients before their recommended treatment.
  2. Be Informed – a medico-legal eLearning course designed to teach the principles of informed consent and kept fully updated with the very latest UK consent law.

Hundreds of clinicians are using these tools to help them achieve excellence in this vital area.

EIDO Inform

EIDO Healthcare provides patient information leaflets to NHS trusts and private healthcare organisations both in the UK and abroad. This information is written, reviewed and updated by surgeons who are regularly carrying out the procedures. EIDO manages the process, ensuring every document is updated on a 2-year rolling cycle. A reference list for each document is stored by EIDO, and this is regularly reviewed. EIDO also responds to feedback that comes from customers, authors and reviewers, and their own clinical advisors. Because the information is stored and accessed online (as a downloadable PDF), EIDO can quickly make changes when necessary. This reassures users that the information is as up to date as possible.

Each leaflet is reviewed and approved by the Plain English Campaign and the Patient Information Forum has awarded the leaflets the ‘PIF TICK’ of approval. EIDO has also partnered with the Patients Association to ensure the information is accessible, clear, and useful. The library is endorsed by organisations including the ASGBI, the Royal College of Surgeons and the British Association of Day Surgery. Leaflets are available in a variety of languages, ‘Easy-Read’ versions, large and giant print, and can be converted to ‘screen readers’.

EIDO Inform documents can be emailed directly to patients, allowing them to consider the information in the comfort of their own homes. They can show it to their loved ones, discuss any concerns with them, and prepare questions for their surgeon at their next face-to-face appointment and before they confirm consent on the day of surgery.

When you purchase a policy underwritten by CFC, EIDO will contact you with details of how to access the Inform library.

Be Informed

Be Informed is an eLearning course designed to teach health professionals the medico-legal principles of consent to treatment. The content is made up of problem-based learning, identifying difficult situations and explaining how they should be tackled. It is written by a healthcare-law professor, endorsed by the ASGBI for 8 CPD hours and accredited by CPD UK. It is updated annually to reflect the very latest developments in UK consent law.

The course contains eight modules. Users can choose which modules to complete based on their specific interests.

When you purchase a policy underwritten by CFC, EIDO will contact you with details of how to access the course.

If you would like to know more about EIDO Inform or Be Informed, please contact:


Note that the OTSIS Board is currently in discussion with EIDO Healthcare about OTSIS members being given access to EIDO’s new Digital Consent Suite at significantly reduced rates. Further details to follow…