Informed consent is an ethical technique which emphasizes using the existing cultural traditions, theoretical resources and legal instruments to analyze and solve the problems reasonably and effectively. Informed consent can thus play a significant role in adjusting the relationship between patients and physicians. As an ethical technique, it focuses on the method of applying various ethical resources and not simply on the combination of the logical consequence and criteria. In a democratic society, informed consent is a necessary requirement for the right-duty relationship between patients and physicians. Informed consent is seen as a prerequisite obligation to physicians and implies certain rights for patients. Patients and physicians are bound by informed consent so that they are able to "trade" equally. Informed consent is not only a means to confirming the property rights but also a tool of reducing the costs of "trade". In practice, informed consent helps to promote and achieve the peaceful co-existence of pluralistic values. It can do so by learning and having conversations with the other sides so that different parties can satisfy under the framework which gives priority to the total interests of society and guarantees the fundamental rights of individuals.
The aims of informed consent in clinical practice are to promote the self-determination of patients and to clarify rights and duties in medical activities. In practice, the sufficiency of information depends on the subjective sufficiency of patients. Physicians should ensure that the patient comprehend the information and follow the appropriate procedure to manage and supervise. The most active method for physician to take is to increase the degree of informational sufficiency. The degree of the patient's self-determination increases accordingly with the increase of informational sufficiency. Their relationship can be described by a curve like "S".
The current studies on informed consent in China lack the empirical data from field research. Most studies focus on the theoretical issues of morality and culture. As a result, research results are hardly applicable in clinical practice. Informed consent should a holistic entity in clinical practice. We should pay more attention to the specificity of the cultural and psychological structure of members of every community. We should establish the ordinary model and criteria of informed consent in the particular community. We should also design an applicable and legally-bond system of informed consent to regulate clinical practice.