The effect of prognostic data presentation format on perceived risk among surrogate decision makers of critically ill patients: A randomized comparative trial
Chapman, A.R., Litton, E., Chamberlain, J. and Ho, K.M. (2015) The effect of prognostic data presentation format on perceived risk among surrogate decision makers of critically ill patients: A randomized comparative trial. Journal of Critical Care, 30 (2). pp. 231-235.
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Purpose: The purpose of this study is to determine whether varying the format used to present prognostic data alters the perception of risk among surrogate decision makers in the intensive care unit (ICU). Methods: This was a prospective randomized comparative trial conducted in a 23-bed adult tertiary ICU. Enrolled surrogate decision makers were randomized to 1 of 2 questionnaires, which presented hypothetical ICU scenarios, identical other than the format in which prognostic data were presented (eg, frequencies vs percentages). Participants were asked to rate the risk associated with each prognostic statement. Results: We enrolled 141 surrogate decision makers. The perception of risk varied significantly dependent on the presentation format. For "quantitative data," risks were consistently perceived as higher, when presented as frequencies (eg, 1 in 50) compared with equivalent percentages (eg, 2%). Framing "qualitative data" in terms of chance of "death" rather than "survival" led to a statistically significant increase in perceived risks. Framing "quantitative" data in this way did not significantly affect risk perception. Conclusion: Data format had a significant effect on how surrogate decision makers interpreted risk. Qualitative statements are interpreted widely and affected by framing. Where possible, multiple quantitative formats should be used for presenting prognostic information.
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