New FDA book: “Communicating Risks and Benefits: An Evidence-Based User’s Guide”

Guest post by SPM member Gangadhar Sulkunte. We posted his family’s e-patient story two years ago.

FDA risk communication cover - click to open PDF (3 MB)The FDA’s Risk Communication Advisory Committee has published a PDF book called  “Communicating Risks and Benefits: An Evidence-Based User’s Guide.” It’s meant to help healthcare practitioners and researchers communicate their work with patients, care givers and the public at large. It’s a free download here (3MB) on the FDA’s website.

The 242-page book covers topics like goals of risk communication, evaluation, language to be used in the communication etc. Every chapter covers a summary of a chosen topic, drawn from multiple research papers on the topic, and includes additional resources for further research.

Some topics of interest to e-patients:

  • The chapter about the language to be used in patient communications, written by Musa Mayer, the well-known breast cancer survivor and patient advocate.
  • Chapter 17 is about Shared Decision Making, which we talk about a lot on this blog and on the SPM members listserv.
  • Chapter 18 on health care news coverage is by Gary Schwitzer of Health News Review. He talks about how medical journalists tend to exaggerate the benefits and minimize potential harms.

This is a must read for all doctors and medical researchers. Please share with your friends and colleagues.



Posted in: e-pts resources | positive patterns | pt/doc co-care




One Response to “New FDA book: “Communicating Risks and Benefits: An Evidence-Based User’s Guide””

  1. A comment on the listserv of the SPM communication team, from Greek SPM member Kathi Apostolidis (@KGApo):

    Hi Gangadhar,

    Good post but I think that the chapter on health literacy [Chapter 9] should definitely be mentioned. It is vital for SDM [shared decision making] and given that in the US, if I understand correctly every state must have a healthlit program and in EU is a policy priority of the health program (as is digital literarcy (key priority of Digital Agenda 2020) I think it should be highlighted.

    If the chapters mentioned could be linked to posts on on the same subject with some comment on the work of s4pm on these fields; it would shed a certain “press release” flair that comes from the proposed text.

    [I] have already tweeted about the book at #opnhealth and posted in FB also at #opnhealth. Now I realize that I could as well post on the FB page of s4pm…

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