The difference between sickness and health sometimes involves patients' choices about medical care, choices that can be influenced by how physicians convey risks and benefits of interventions.
Researchers are finding that both clinicians and patients struggle to fully understand medical risks, but improved physician training and better communication can help provide clarity.
Statistics used to quantitate risk can involve descriptions and mathematical equations that are difficult for the physicians, let alone the public, to grasp.
Hampton T. Weighing Risks and Benefits a Struggle for Both Physicians and Patients. JAMA. 2007;298(12):1387. doi:10.1001/jama.298.12.1387
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