3 Common Misconceptions About Informed Consent Documentation

Friday, September 22 2023

You likely already know that informed consent documentation is an important part of the new client intake process. There are important legal reasons for informed consent documents, and discussing these documents with clients – the “informed” part of the title – helps establish trust and show new clients what they can expect.

However, informed consent can also be a legal morass that providers wade into without training or support. As part of the SonderMind network, you can always reach out to your provider coach for help with these documents. And, now you can also manage these documents directly in the provider portal.

The good news: it’s not as complex as it seems. Here are three common misconceptions about informed consent documents.

1. You don’t need as many documents as you think

Although the informed consent process can include several documents, it likely only requires a single informed consent document. Knowing which documents to send – and which ones you may not need to send – is an important part of getting the informed consent process correct with new clients. 

Requirements do vary depending on where you’re licensed, where the client is located, and your license type. To help, SonderMind’s legal team has compiled and reviewed this list of required documents

2. Electronic signatures are valid

Of course, clients are required to sign informed consent documents, which can seem difficult if sessions are exclusively through Video Telehealth. Fortunately, an electronic signature is valid for these documents. As the ability to manage informed consent documents is added to the SonderMind provider portal, you’ll be able to gather electronic signatures that way.

3. Documents must be managed with HIPAA-compliant platforms

Email can be a convenient way to send informed consent documents, especially when a client is going to be attending video sessions. But informed consent documents must be sent and managed in compliance with HIPAA’s Security Rule, which rules out certain email providers.

Online management of informed consent docs through your SonderMind portal is a HIPAA-compliant alternative. Using your portal gives you the convenience of digital document management, along with the confidence that client privacy is being protected.

Remember: it’s “informed” consent

A final note on informed consent documentation: the word “informed” is there for a reason. Discuss these documents with your clients, whether they’re being signed online or in-person. Adding a brief discussion to your intake process can establish confidence and a stronger relationship with new clients.

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