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Notary Bulletin

Johns Hopkins Study Calls For Simpler Healthcare Consent Forms

Medical forms filled with complicated language not only confuse patients but can cause delays and problems with processing paperwork for Notaries and other healthcare professionals. A recent Johns Hopkins University study is calling for shorter, easier-to-understand medical documents.

The study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, looked at 124 informed consent documents and found that their average length was 22 pages long, and the sections on confidentiality required a 12th grade reading level to understand. The authors recommended that consent forms use simpler language.

“Consent forms are extremely long, exceeding recommendations for how much information readily can be processed. Networks should consider providing shorter consent templates, consistent with federal recommendations,” states the study.

Signers often ask Notaries for help explaining or completing documents, not realizing that state laws prohibit Notaries from advising signers about documents. The NNA reminds Notaries to follow all applicable laws and refrain from giving unauthorized advice or assistance in completing healthcare forms for signers.

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