Evidence-Based Risk Communication in Annals of Internal Medicine

Dr. Daniella Zipkin, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, is one of 14 authors who contributed to “Evidence-Based Risk Communication: A Systematic Review,” published in Annals of Internal Medicine in August 2014.

“Evidence-Based Risk Communication: A Systematic Review” reviewed 84 articles focusing on 91 studies that assessed different methods of communicating risks and benefits to patients regarding their health care options. The goal of the review was to identify the communication methods that maximize patient understanding, which is a component of evidence-based medicine (EBM).

The systematic review concluded that visual aids, such as bar graphs or displays of icons, are capable of increasing patient understanding and satisfaction. Other presentation methods reduced patient understanding, such as “number needed to treat” statistics, which are commonly used in health care to express the average number of people who need to receive treatment in order to prevent an additional negative outcome.

In addition to her published research, Dr. Daniella Zipkin also promotes evidence-based medicine in her work as a member of the Evidence-Based Medicine Task Force within the Society of General Internal Medicine.


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As a teacher, investigator, and clinician, Dr. Daniella Zipkin works with physicians, staff, and medical residents to improve practices in evidence-based medicine and doctor-patient communication. Through research grants connected to her faculty position at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, Dr. Zipkin studies the impact of communicating evidence to physicians in a collaborative atmosphere and to patients in a clinical setting. Dr. Daniella Zipkin currently serves as a Principal Investigator through a Duke Graduate Medical Education Innovation Grant on case-based teaching conferences in evidence-based medicine. She also leads a project through the Society of General Internal Medicine to create communication summaries for physicians to use with patients when explaining new clinical data. In conjunction with her academic role, Dr. Daniella Zipkin recently presented at several regional and national conferences. Dr. Zipkin developed and taught a workshop in evidence-based medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ pediatric hospitalist program. She also served as a Workshop Leader at the Society of General Internal Medicine Annual Meeting in 2011 on two programs, titled “Is a picture worth a 1,000 words? Communicating Evidence to Patients” and “Beyond Critical Appraisal: Tips for Real World Application of Study Results.” Dr. Daniella Zipkin studied at The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine and completed her residency in general internal medicine through New York University and Bellevue Hospital Center in New York. She started working as a clinician educator through a fellowship at UCSF in the Division of General Internal Medicine. Since then, Dr. Zipkin has held several faculty and research positions in evidence-based medicine at UCSF, the California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) in San Francisco, and Duke University. In addition to her teaching background, Dr. Daniella Zipkin has served in several clinical settings as an Attending Physician at CPMC and as a Primary Care Internist at the Santa Cruz Medical Foundation in California. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center in the Division of General Internal Medicine.