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Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Sep;120(3):650-4. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e318265f377.

Interpretation and communication of medical evidence: room for improvement.

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Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, & Reproductive Sciences, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA.


Obstetricians often rely on the results of randomized studies and other medical evidence to guide them in treating patients. However, not infrequently, there are problems with the manner in which we communicate medical evidence to our patients and the public. For instance, we often rely almost exclusively on relative risks without discussing absolute risks. This has the potential to cause undue anxiety, misinterpretation, unrealistic expectations, and problems with clinical decision making. This commentary encourages a more critical look at the way we interpret data and communicate medical evidence to our patients and the public.

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