Background: Emergent use research—research involving human subjects that have a life-threatening medical condition and who are unlikely to provide informed consent—in critical illness is fraught with challenges related to obtaining informed consent. Per federal regulations, to meet criteria to conduct such trials, the investigators have to seek community consultations. Effective ways of obtaining this consultation remains ill-defined. Objective: We sought to describe methods, interpretations, and our experiences of conducting community consultation in a planned emergent use randomized controlled trial. Methods: As part of a planned emergent use clinical trial in our study, community consultation consisted of four focus groups sessions with members from the community in which the clinical trial was conducted. Three focus group sessions were conducted with members who had an affiliation to Mayo Clinic, and the other focus group session was conducted with non-Mayo affiliation members. The feedback from the focus group sessions led to the creation of the public notification plan. The public was notified of the trial through community meetings as well as social media. Results: As compared to community meetings, focus group sessions resulted in greater attendance with more interactive discussions. Moreover, focus group sessions resulted in greater in-depth conversations leading to institutional acceptance of the clinical trial under study. Conclusions: Exception from informed consent can be acceptable to the community. Focus groups provided better participation and valuable interactive insight as compared to community meetings in our study. This could serve as a valuable guide for investigators pursuing exception from informed consent in their research studies.
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