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J Med Ethics 39:214-218 doi:10.1136/medethics-2012-101056
  • Public health ethics
  • Paper

Informed consent and routinisation

  1. Soren Holm2
  1. 1Centre for Applied Ethics and Philosophy of Science, Aalborg University Copenhagen, København S, Denmark
  2. 2Centre for Social Ethics and Policy, School of Law, Manchester University, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Thomas Ploug, Centre for Applied Ethics and Philosophy of Science, Aalborg University Copenhagen, AC Meyers Vænge 15, København S 2450, Denmark; ploug{at}hum.aau.dk
  • Received 29 August 2012
  • Revised 24 October 2012
  • Accepted 9 November 2012
  • Published Online First 5 December 2012

Abstract

This article introduces the notion of ‘routinisation’ into discussions of informed consent. It is argued that the routinisation of informed consent poses a threat to the protection of the personal autonomy of a patient through the negotiation of informed consent. On the basis of a large survey, we provide evidence of the routinisation of informed consent in various types of interaction on the internet; among these, the routinisation of consent to the exchange of health related information. We also provide evidence that the extent of the routinisation of informed consent is dependent on the character of the information exchanged, and we uncover a range of causes of routinisation. Finally, the article discusses possible ways of countering the problem of routinisation of informed consent.