The Importance of Informed Consent (and the right way to craft it)

If you have been following ChiroSecure’s Live Events, a Facebook Live or a presentation then you most likely know by now that we are a strong proponent of Informed Consent, and how it should be done as part of your process of accepting and treating chiropractic patient. We put emphasis on sending your message to a patient in simplest way possible so that you, the chiropractic service provider, and your patient are on the same page. In other words, the key to building a good relationship with your patient is effective communication. Remember, it is how you use that Informed Consent and how you respond to questions a patient might ask that determines how long and how effective that relationship will be for both of you.

Rather than bombarding your patient with industry jargon, your informed consent should written in such a way that anyone can understand. Your goal isn’t just to give diagnosis and to inform about the chiropractic manipulation but to ensure that your patient understands every detail of it. You have to see to it that a patient is able to discern the benefits as well as any possible associated risks of chiropractic treatment.

To give you more insight, here’s an example of informed consent covered with industry jargon:

“According to, Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Chiropractic Care and Cervical Artery Dissection: No Evidence for Causation

Our systematic review revealed that the quality of the published literature on the relationship between chiropractic manipulation and CAD is very low. A meta-analysis of available data shows a small association between chiropractic neck manipulation and CAD. We uncovered evidence for considerable risk of bias and confounding in the available studies. In particular, the known association of neck pain both with cervical artery dissection and with chiropractic manipulation may explain the relationship between manipulation and CAD. There is no convincing evidence to support a causal link, and unfounded belief in causation may have dire consequences.”

Whereas, an informed consent that is more easy to understand goes like this:

Chiropractors and chiropractic spends more money looking into that question than anyone else because there is so much in the media about this issue. Here is something you may not know. The great majority of strokes happen in non chiropractic patients, people that have never seen a chiropractor. In fact, more people have strokes just doing things you do everyday without even thinking about a stroke. This maybe because of medications they take, congenial issues, accidents, playing sports, visiting their medical doctor or doing nothing at all. Even though the research shows there is no evidence that a chiropractic manipulation can cause a stroke, chiropractors have greater training recognizing the early signs of stroke, detecting potential strokes, screening for strokes, and how to handle stroke situations then most other health care providers. It could be said that if you are potentially at a high risk for a stroke being in a chiropractor’s office may be the best thing you can do. A chiropractor’s skills may just save your life.

In the first example above, the patient may nod as if they know what you are talking about, and yes, what you are stating is a fact, but the patient has no idea what it is you said and that is not a good way to start a relationship. Worse if the patient does not understand what you are saying, it may put you at higher risk if he is ever asked: Did the doctor explain to you the risks involved in a cervical manipulation? What do you think they would say?

The second example is more easy to understand for everyone because it is relatively simple. As it says right in our Informed Consent (page 3, #4), “The conversation should be in layman’s terms and the patient should have the opportunity to ask questions and gain clarification.”

Again, when a patient comes to you for care, they are looking for a partner to develop a trusting relationship in which you can work together to solve the issues they are having. Make sure you are ready.

To learn more about our Informed Consent, contact us at: (866) 802-4476