When weighing the risk of heart disease, how the numbers are presented to patients can make all the difference.
Many of us get confused by claims of how much the risk of a heart attack, for example, might be reduced by taking medicine for it. And doctors can get confused, too.
Just ask . She runs the Health Decisions Sciences Center at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital. A few years ago she surveyed primary care physicians, and asked how confident they were in their ability to talk about numbers and probabilities with patients.
"What we found surprised us a little bit," Sepucha says. "Only about 20 percent of the physicians said they were very comfortable using numbers and explaining probabilities to patients."
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