General Requirements of Informed Consent

A successful consent process presents detailed information which is organized and presented in a way that helps the prospective subject understand why a person might or might not want to participate.

Unless the HSRO or IRB approved a waiver or alteration of informed consent, the following information must be provided to each subject.

Required Elements

  1. A statement that the study involves research, an explanation of the purposes of the research and the expected duration of the subject's participation, a description of the procedures to be followed, and identification of any procedures that are experimental;
  2. A description of any reasonably foreseeable risks or discomforts to the subject;
  3. A description of any benefits to the subject/others that may reasonably be expected from the research;
  4. A disclosure of appropriate alternative procedures or courses of treatment, if any, that might be advantageous to the subject;
  5. A statement describing the extent to which the investigator/study personnel will maintain or not maintain confidentiality of records identifying the subject (e.g., law requires reporting child abuse, etc.) and describes how the research team will protect subjects’ private records during and after the conclusion of proposed research studies, and in dissemination, discussion, and presentation of the data and results. Any research that is subject to audit or inspection must identify who will have access to the subject’s record (e.g. external sponsor, RIT, HSRO/IRB, other organizations or evaluators);
  6. Compensation or treatment for injury if appropriate: for studies with greater than minimal risk, a statement explaining any compensation and an explanation of any medical treatments available if injury occurs or where the subject may obtain further information;
  7. An explanation of whom to contact for answers to pertinent questions about the research and research subjects' rights, and whom to contact in the event of a research-related injury to the subject;
  8. A statement that taking part in the study is voluntary, refusal to participate will involve no penalty or loss of benefits the subject is otherwise entitled to and the subject may discontinue participation at any time with no penalty or loss of benefits
  9. One of the following statements about any research that involves the collection of identifiable information or identifiable biospecimens:
    1. A statement that identifiers might be removed from the identifiable private information or identifiable biospecimens and that, after such removal, the information or biospecimens could be used for future research studies or distributed to another investigator for future research studies without additional informed consent from the subject or the legally authorized representative, if this might be a possibility; or
    2. A statement that the subject's information or biospecimens collected as part of the research, even if identifiers are removed, will not be used or distributed for future research studies.

Additional Elements

In some cases you may need to provide additional elements when appropriate:

  1. A statement that the particular treatment or procedure may involve risks to the subject (or to the embryo or fetus, if the subject is or may become pregnant) that are currently unforeseeable;
  2. Anticipated circumstances under which the subject’s participation may be terminated by the investigator without regard to the subject's or the legally authorized representative’s consent;
  3. Any additional costs to the subject that may result from participation in the research;
  4. The consequences of a subject’s decision to withdraw from the research and procedures for orderly termination of participation by the subject;
  5. A statement that significant new findings developed during the course of the research that may relate to the subject’s willingness to continue participation will be provided to the subject;
  6. The approximate number of subjects involved in the study;
  7. A statement that the subject’s biospecimens (even if identifiers are removed) may be used for commercial profit and whether the subject will or will not share in this commercial profit;
  8. A statement regarding whether clinically relevant research results, including individual research results, will be disclosed to subjects, and if so, under what conditions; and
  9. For research involving biospecimens, whether the research will (if known) or might include whole genome sequencing (i.e., sequencing of a human germline or somatic specimen with the intent to generate the genome or exome sequence of that specimen).

Other Requirements

The IRB may impose additional requirements that are not specifically listed in the regulations to ensure that adequate information is presented in accordance with institutional policy and local law.

The words you use should be appropriate for the subject population so they can easily understand what you wrote, and you should explain any complex ideas or large words.

Unless otherwise requested, Exempt category research does not require a signature line. All other research categories should include a line for the subject to sign, and a line for the date.

A copy of the form must be available to the subject. Online research should have a way for them to print out or receive a copy in some way.