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Personalized risk communication for personalized risk assessment: real world assessment of knowledge and motivation for six mortality risk measures from an online life expectancy calculator

Manuel DG, Abdulaziz KE, Perez R, Beach S, Bennett C. Inform Health Soc Care. 2017; 433(1):42-55. Epub 2017 Jan 9.


In the clinical setting, previous studies have shown personalized risk assessment and communication improves risk perception and motivation. We evaluated an online health calculator that estimated and presented six different measures of life expectancy/mortality based on a person's sociodemographic and health behavior profile. Immediately after receiving calculator results, participants were invited to complete an online survey that asked how informative and motivating they found each risk measure, whether they would share their results and whether the calculator provided information they need to make lifestyle changes. Over 80% of the 317 survey respondents found at least one of six healthy living measures highly informative and motivating, but there was moderate heterogeneity regarding which measures respondents found most informative and motivating. Overall, health age was most informative and life expectancy most motivating. Approximately 40% of respondents would share the results with their clinician (44%) or social networks (38%), although the information they would share was often different from what they found informative or motivational. Online personalized risk assessment allows for a more personalized communication compared to historic paper-based risk assessment to maximize knowledge and motivation, and people should be provided a range of risk communication measures that reflect different risk perspectives.

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Keywords: Risk assessment Social determinants of health

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