Background: Obtaining informed consent from a patient prior to surgery is critically important for both the patient and the medical team performing the surgery. A properly executed consent document represents an understanding and acceptance between the patient and his physician about the procedure to be performed and the risks associated with the procedure. Failure to properly consent a patient prior to surgery could result in harm both to the patient as well as to the physician.

A recent audit conducted by UI Health found that only 21 percent of all surgical consents reviewed within a 30 day period were compliant with consent requirements. As a result of the audit, the department of otolaryngology is conducting a retrospective review of surgical consents to determine 1) the departments surgical consent compliance rate and 2) the reason for non-compliance for each consent failure, and the rate of non-compliance for specific items in the consent. Information gathered because of this study will be used as a training tool for staff members obtaining surgical consent in our department.