Consent form has a crucial role in some businesses, especially technology, law, finance, and healthcare – although the usage of the form isn’t only limited to those sectors. Managers and business owners must choose the right type of consent application and implement the elements properly. Otherwise, it is possible that it doesn’t serve the (intended) legal purpose. In the event you need to know the details of such a form, read along.
Understanding the Meaning and the Concept
Consent form can also be called the release form. It is a legal documentation serving as the written permission to receive or send information among the participating parties. The form would inform the participating parties of the associated use risks, releasing the provider from (associated) claims. After the signage, the form would function as waiver and authorization.
Based on the purpose, the consent form is basically about informing patients, clients, or the subjects of the available information, the rights (which they are waiving), and also other pertinent details. The main aim is to make sure that communication lines would open among parties, including allowing people the right for information.
Not many people know that consent can come in various forms. There are several factors that would differentiate the consent form, including the legal situation, the medium being used, the relevant industry, and others. You need to review various kinds of available consents that can help you make the right decision.
Here are 6 consent types that are commonly popular among people. They are:
- Active consent. This type of consent happens when clients or customers agree actively to the specific statement (and similar) to explicit consent. For instance, if you open a site and you need to click ‘I agree’, that’s an active consent. Or when you sign a contract, that’s a sign of active consent.
- Explicit consent. This is the type of consent when customers are offered the chances to authorize disclosure, risk, or use. For instance, (global) privacy regulations would need this kind of consent when an organization processes the data of a consumer. The laws would require a documented and clear disclosure of the company practice – and how the customers can opt out.
- Implied consent. This type of consent is when participation would grant permission automatically in some cases. For instance, most states have implied consent law for getting a driver license. The implied consent (within this situation) is that drivers would be willing to provide breath sample (to police) for reasonable DUI/DWI investigations.
- Informed consent. It happens when the related individuals are being informed about the possible consequences and outcomes of (granting) their permission. For this kind of consent to be valid, the person who signs the consent must be 18 years of age (minimum), be competent, be completely informed about the risks and use, and voluntarily authorize it.
- Opt out consent. This type is when clients or customers are able to rescind or refuse permissions – at any time. For instance, you have a website and you offer this type of consent for visitors, so they can refuse to the cookies within your site. Consent would occur formally when the consumer continues using it without declining it.
- Passive consent. This kind of consent happens when consumers or clients give their authorization automatically, unless it is otherwise stated. You won’t be able to use passive consent if you work toward the privacy regulation compliance, but you can use the passive consent clauses if the use doesn’t affect the customer significantly.
The Things Included in the Form
Depending on the situation, a consent form can be direct, complicated, or straightforward. However, the form usually has some kinds of authorization, release of claims, and acknowledgment. Since businesses often ask their customers, in specific situations, to waive their rights, it’s crucial that the businesses consult and discuss an attorney to make sure that the customers’ civil rights stay intact.
A consent form typically has these 6 elements:
- Proper formatting. The form should include readable fonts, headers, and clear language usages. The form should also make sure that it is suitable for the general audience.
- Release clause. The form should have a release clause in which customers acknowledge. The clause would release the business owners from any risk associated with the service or products’ usage.
- Legality. It’s imperative that businesses work together with professional legal to make or review the forms. The professional should be able to provide information whether the document has violated contract law or public policy in some manner.
- Limitation of liability clause. The liability release should state clearly that customers won’t sue the owners for any negligence. The owners need to make sure that they have included the protection from the legal liability within the disclaimers to get enforceability.
- Precision. When people are asked to waive (their) rights, they need to know what things are being waived, while trying to comply with the law at the same time. If they don’t know what they are ‘giving up’, the business owners could be considered violating the rights as they don’t provide enough info within the consent form.
- Date lines and signature. This should be the final component within the form, especially the active type. However, when a business uses implied consent form, they can skip this one.
Some Common Examples
There are several (legal) situations that require you to agree to the consent form. Here are some of the examples. The first one is about DUI testing. Emily just moves into California and she wants to have a driver license. The State of California issues the license under the implied consent laws. By accepting it, she basically agrees on DUI checks. If she doesn’t want to provide the breath sample (during DUI check which may happen in the future),she would lose the license automatically for a certain period.
Another example is about (personal) health info. CardioForm has an app that is able not only to monitor the patient’s heart rate, but also transmit data (to physicians) and manage prescriptions. They sign up new customers and those customers MUST offer their active and explicit consent before they can use the service. CardioForm places the form in the onboarding process of the customers. If the customers don’t agree, they won’t be able to use some (or even all) of the app features.
Who Use the Forms?
Who would use the consent form, anyway? Well, businesses in general. Businesses need to use the form to authorize permission for a specific action. Some sectors or industries, like finance, tech, and healthcare may require companies to gather around consent through these (consent) forms at certain periods or times.
In the event that you have a business and you may need to create a consent form, it would be wise to use a contract lawyer. They have the knowledge and in-depth understanding of the law. They can also help you apply it to your specific or unique situation. Having a legal expert would make sure that you have the legal, valid, and legit form from the first draft to the final contract signing.
Preparing the Form – Tips
When you create a consent form, there are some things that you need to consider carefully and thoroughly.
- You need to use simple and easy to understand words that are familiar to the non-scientific and non academic readers. No need to use fancy words or difficult to understand terms
- Try to avoid acronyms and abbreviations as much as possible. But if you do need to use them, you need to spell them out first. It would give your readers a better understanding of them
- Avoid legal jargon. If you have to use it, provide explanations about it.
- Avoid unnecessary and unimportant adjectives as well as contractions
- Avoid long words, especially the ones with many syllables
- It would be better to use active verbs as well as conversational tone
- It would be better to use second person (or you) and not third person (for the participant) to increase personal identification
- Write simple, direct, and short sentences
- Use headings as well as subheadings so you can group the text together
- Try to be consistent with terminology usages, like the abbreviations, treatment names, and procedures
- Use pictures or photos or images if they can will to clarify the procedures
- Avoid repetition. It’s annoying!
- Standardize the document’s layout, such as the size, the font, and such things alike
- If possible (and if appropriate), use page numbers
- Avoid printed text’s big blocks. Get used to white space
- Avoid using etc or e.g. If you want to formalize it, use so forth or for example
- Use 12 point for the font. You may consider bigger font depending on the audience, but using smaller fonts is less appreciated because it makes the document difficult to read
- Try to keep the paragraphs short. It would be better if it can be limited to one idea only.
- Divide the sentences to two when needed
- Always check the text to see whether the idea is clear and it is logically sequential
There you have it, the detailed facts of such a consent type and its form. Remember to always hire a professional expert when forming your own consent form.