Can Seniors Use eConsent?

May 11, 2017 Jackie Brusch

A common myth about electronic informed consent (eConsent) is that senior populations will have trouble using it.  CRF Health research proves just the opposite -- in fact, seniors were more likely to adopt and use electronic over paper due to its numerous benefits. 

Sandra "SAM" Sather discusses how eConsent benefits seniors and the ways that electronic can be adapted for easier use by the elderly in this 3-minute video.


There are commonly questions about the seniors or elderly using electronic informed consent.

When it comes to how the information is presented in a lot of text, text, text and multi pages; then, put upon that some of the different vulnerable populations, or different scenarios that people might have related to the way they learn or the way that they are able to hear or see something.

On paper we’re quite limited with accessibility. So some people ask, how can eConsent be accessible? And that’s why I really kind of ask back, how is paper accessible? And it’s very easy to get someone’s signature on a form. And we think we’re done. But have we really informed them and supported them?

One thing we need to remember is, how we design a consent, we have lots of flexibility within using multimedia.

It really is something that for certain content makes things much more understandable. So definitely the navigation of an eConsent needs to be well thought out for any population. But if you know your study is going to be enrolling primarily a senior population, of course the navigation is gonna be—have bigger font. You’re gonna have ah, maybe ah, the screen will have certain colours or brighter, ah, or less information on a screen.

Now if the elderly population is cognitively impaired, we would really then want to, just like paper, incorporate a legally authorized representative. But there is this movement with seniors or anybody who is cognitively impaired to make sure they also can do as much as they can in the consenting process. So it’s, to me, presenting something multimedia gives them the opportunity to get more information and hear more information than reading 13, 15, 30 pages. And actually co-signing, we can do that through eConsent.

So yes, eConsent can be done with elderly populations.

Having the ability to do something remotely that is also interactive and presented in a way that the information can be done over time, and again not just in a text format, that they can actually interact with, ah, it’s very, very valuable. 

About the Author

Jackie Brusch

Jackie Brusch is the Content Marketing Manager at CRF Health.

Can Seniors Use Electronic Clinical Outcome Assessments (eCOA)?
Can Seniors Use Electronic Clinical Outcome Assessments (eCOA)?

Dr. Jill Platko debunks the common myth among clinical study professionals that elderly patients cannot use...

The World's Best eCOA Body Map: How Patients Helped Improve Symptom Location Reporting
The World's Best eCOA Body Map: How Patients Helped Improve Symptom Location Reporting

The design of this eCOA body map was directed by the user experience of actual patients during the usabilit...