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Risk communication needs better evaluation, academies say

Strategies to communicate the risks around health products are rarely evaluated and their effectiveness is poorly understood, a report by the Council of Canadian Academies has said.

“Regulators use several tools to communicate the risks of health products, but we know little about whether their messages are reaching and influencing the views and behaviours of various populations,” said Annette Cormier O’Connor, the chairwoman of the expert panel that carried out the review. “Without evaluative information on who is paying attention, what they are learning and what impacts are occurring, mistakes may be repeated and opportunities to demonstrate success may be lost.”

The report documents effective risk communication practices and risk communication tools used by regulators in Canada and around the world, provides an overview of evaluation methods for these tools and offers practical guidance for regulators and practitioners to create meaningful evaluations.

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