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Resources for Health Professionals

Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication

Resources - Resources for Health Professionals

Free E-learning courses for health professionals

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Communicating potential harms and benefits: Accredited E-learning courses

As a GP, surgeon or specialist medical professional you frequently have to communicate the potential harms and benefits of different treatment options.

We have developed a series of e-learning courses to equip you with the tools and techniques needed to communicate sometimes complex numerical information clearly and effectively, so you can better support your patients to make informed treatment decisions.

The courses were developed in partnership with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, and have been accredited by the Royal College of GPs, the Royal College of Surgeons in England, and the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh.

We currently have courses tailored for:

General Practitioners

Surgeons, Anaesthetists & Perioperative specialists


Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Plastic surgeons

Those needing to communicate genetically-related cancer risks

The courses are available to all via our own Moodle site, or via the e-learning health platform which is available to all NHS employees.

For more general resources which can help to improve your understanding and communication of numbers, we recommend the following:

The Strange World of Risk Perception, a blog by Alex Freeman for BMJ, 2021

Putting risks into context: covid-19 vaccines and blood clots, another blog by Alex Freeman for BMJ, 2021

How to communicate evidence to patients, a review article by Alex Freeman in Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, 2019

Simple tools for understanding risks: from innumeracy to insight by Gerd Gigerenzer and Adrian Edwards in BMJ, 2003

Strategies to help patients understand risks by John Paling in BMJ, 2003

Perils, Pitfalls, and Possibilities in Talking About Medical Risk by Sidney T. Bogardus, Eric Holmboe, and James F. Jekel in JAMA, 1999

If you are working on the communication of printed information to patients, we'd recommend taking inspiration from:

The Blood Test Gets a Makeover by Steven Leckhart in Wired, 2010

Visualising Health an evidence-based resource on how to visualise health data by Brian Zikmund-Fisher and team

and our own work on genetic test reports.