Informed consent is a three part process in which there is an exchange of information between the physician and patient.

The first part is the disclosure and explanation to the patient, in language that the patient can understand, of the nature of a proposed procedure or treatment, its potential risks and benefits, and reasonable alternatives which may be available. 
The second part of the process involves:
1) ensuring that the patient understands what has been explained to him or her (to the best of the patient's intellectual capacity);
2) the patient accepting the risks;
3) the patient giving his or her consent to undergo the procedure or treatment. Finally, the process must be documented.

In the process noted above, in many instances, the patient will be asked to sign a form acknowledging that he or she has received sufficient information upon which informed consent can be given for the procedure or treatment, and has given his or her voluntary permission to undergo it. Also, the physician who had the discussion with the patient must document the details of the discussion in the patient's medical record.

Physicians are responsible for obtaining informed consent.

The physician who will perform the proposed procedure or treatment should engage in this process with the patient.

It is acceptable for a physician to delegate the task of obtaining the patient's signature on the necessary consent form to another member of the health care team.

However, this should occur only after the discussions necessary for a patient to give his or her informed consent have occurred.