Annals Clinical Decision Making: Communicating Risk and Engaging Patients in Shared Decision Making

Patients must be involved in weighing risks and benefits when deciding on their care, particularly when uncertainty exists regarding outcomes. This article in the Annals Clinical Decision Making series addresses how to best communicate risks and benefits to ensure the pertinent issues and facts are understood by the patient to enable meaningful, shared decision making.

Use this feature to:

  • Answer the MKSAP 18 question at the bottom of this page
  • Ask yourself what is meant by “shared decision making.”
  • How should risk be communicated to patients? How are the potential benefits of an intervention best communicated?
  • What is the difference between relative risk reduction and absolute risk reduction? Review the example in Table 1. Which do you think is more informative? Which is easier for patients to understand?
  • How are gain and loss frames communicated? Use Table 2.
  • What are visual arrays? How might they be helpful in educating a patient? Look at the example in Figure 2.
  • How would you combine the information in Table 1, Table 2, and Figure 2 to help a patient understand the benefits and harms of tamoxifen chemoprophylaxis for breast cancer?

Annals of Internal Medicine is the premier internal medicine academic journal published by the American College of Physicians (ACP). It is one of the most widely cited and influential specialty medical journals in the world.

Back to the October 2020 issue of ACP IMpact