Intended for healthcare professionals


Communicating risk

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 07 December 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1483

Use of standard terms is unlikely to result in standard communication

  1. Adrian Edwards,
  2. Roisin Pill,
  3. Nigel Stott
  1. Clinical fellow Professor of general practice research Professor of general practice University of Wales College of Medicine, Department of General Practice, Health Centre, Maelfa, Llanedeyrn, Cardiff CF3 7PN

    EDITOR,—Kenneth C Calman proposes a language of risk that seeks to introduce standardisation into our communication with patients about risks.1 The debate that he calls for must address three fundamental issues. Firstly, is it feasible or theoretically justifiable to translate estimates of risk derived from populations to individuals? Secondly, does current communication about risks meet patients' requirements and is it relevant to them? Thirdly, if we continue with a pragmatic approach to communication about risk, developing it in terms of language, how is this …

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