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Numeric, verbal, and visual formats of conveying health risks: suggested best practices and future recommendations.

Publication ,  Journal Article
Lipkus, IM
Published in: Medical decision making : an international journal of the Society for Medical Decision Making
September 2007

Perception of health risk can affect medical decisions and health behavior change. Yet the concept of risk is a difficult one for the public to grasp. Whether perceptions of risk affect decisions and behaviors often relies on how messages of risk magnitudes (i.e., likelihood) are conveyed. Based on expert opinion, this article offers, when possible, best practices for conveying magnitude of health risks using numeric, verbal, and visual formats. This expert opinion is based on existing empirical evidence, review of papers and books, and consultations with experts in risk communication. This article also discusses formats to use pertaining to unique risk communication challenges (e.g., conveying small-probability events, interactions). Several recommendations are suggested for enhancing precision in perception of risk by presenting risk magnitudes numerically and visually. Overall, there are little data to suggest best practices for verbal communication of risk magnitudes. Across the 3 formats, few overall recommendations could be suggested because of 1) lack of consistency in testing formats using the same outcomes in the domain of interest, 2) lack of critical tests using randomized controlled studies pitting formats against one another, and 3) lack of theoretical progress detailing and testing mechanisms why one format should be more efficacious in a specific context to affect risk magnitudes than others. Areas of future research are provided that it is hoped will help illuminate future best practices.

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Published In

Medical decision making : an international journal of the Society for Medical Decision Making

DOI

EISSN

1552-681X

ISSN

0272-989X

Publication Date

September 2007

Volume

27

Issue

5

Start / End Page

696 / 713

Related Subject Headings

  • United States
  • Risk Assessment
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Patient Participation
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Humans
  • Health Policy & Services
  • Decision Making
  • Communication
  • 4206 Public health
 

Citation

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Lipkus, I. M. (2007). Numeric, verbal, and visual formats of conveying health risks: suggested best practices and future recommendations. Medical Decision Making : An International Journal of the Society for Medical Decision Making, 27(5), 696–713. https://doi.org/10.1177/0272989x07307271
Lipkus, Isaac M. “Numeric, verbal, and visual formats of conveying health risks: suggested best practices and future recommendations.Medical Decision Making : An International Journal of the Society for Medical Decision Making 27, no. 5 (September 2007): 696–713. https://doi.org/10.1177/0272989x07307271.
Lipkus IM. Numeric, verbal, and visual formats of conveying health risks: suggested best practices and future recommendations. Medical decision making : an international journal of the Society for Medical Decision Making. 2007 Sep;27(5):696–713.
Lipkus, Isaac M. “Numeric, verbal, and visual formats of conveying health risks: suggested best practices and future recommendations.Medical Decision Making : An International Journal of the Society for Medical Decision Making, vol. 27, no. 5, Sept. 2007, pp. 696–713. Epmc, doi:10.1177/0272989x07307271.
Lipkus IM. Numeric, verbal, and visual formats of conveying health risks: suggested best practices and future recommendations. Medical decision making : an international journal of the Society for Medical Decision Making. 2007 Sep;27(5):696–713.

Published In

Medical decision making : an international journal of the Society for Medical Decision Making

DOI

EISSN

1552-681X

ISSN

0272-989X

Publication Date

September 2007

Volume

27

Issue

5

Start / End Page

696 / 713

Related Subject Headings

  • United States
  • Risk Assessment
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Patient Participation
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Humans
  • Health Policy & Services
  • Decision Making
  • Communication
  • 4206 Public health