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Am J Health Behav. 2007 Sep-Oct;31 Suppl 1:S47-56.

Making numbers matter: present and future research in risk communication.

Author information

  • 1Ann Arbor VA HSR&D Center for Excellence, Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0429, USA. fagerlin@umich.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To summarize existing research on individual numeracy and methods for presenting risk information to patients.

METHODS:

We selectively retrieved articles from MEDLINE and the Social Sciences Citation Index.

RESULTS:

Many Americans have low numeracy skills, a deficit that impedes effective health care. Approaches to risk communication vary in current practice, but how risks are presented can significantly affect both patients' risk perceptions and their knowledge.

CONCLUSIONS:

Adhering to some basic principles for presenting risk information to patients can improve understanding. However, different risk-communication methods may be needed for individuals with high versus low levels of numeracy.

PMID:
17931136
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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