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PLoS One. 2009 Nov 26;4(11):e8073. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008073.

Patients' perception of quality of pre-operative informed consent in athens, Greece: a pilot study.

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  • 1Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Athens, Greece.



We sought to perform a study to record and evaluate patients' views of the way surgeons communicate informed consent (IC) in Greece.


A prospective pilot study was carried out in Athens from 9/2007 to 4/2008. The study sample was extracted from patients, operated by eight different surgeons, who volunteered to fill in a post-surgery self-report questionnaire on IC. A composite delivered information index and a patient-physician relationship index were constructed for the purposes of the analysis. In total, 77 patients (42 males) volunteered to respond to the questionnaire. The delivered information index scores ranged from 3 to 10, the mean score was 8, and the standard deviation (SD) was 1.9. All patients were aware of their underlying diagnosis and reason for surgery. However, a considerable proportion of the respondents (14.3%) achieved a score below or equal to 5. The patient-physician relationship scores ranged from 0 to 20, the mean score was 16 and the standard deviation (SD) was 4.3. The better the patient-physician relationship, the more information was finally delivered to the patient from the physician (Spearman's rank-order correlation coefficient was 0.4 and p<0.001). Delivered information index was significantly higher among participants who comprehended the right to informed consent, compared to participants who did not (p<0.001), and among participants who were given information regarding other possible therapeutic options (p = 0.001). 43% of the respondents answered that less than 10 minutes were spent on the consent process, 58.4% of patients stated that they had not been informed about other possible therapeutic choices and 28.6% did not really comprehend their legal rights to IC.


Despite the inherent limitations and the small sample size that do not permit to draw any firm conclusions, results indicate that a successful IC process may be associated with specific elements such as the patient-physician relationship, the time spent by the physician to inform the patient, a participant's comprehension of the right to IC and the provision of information regarding other possible therapeutic options.

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