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.


The Basics of Evidence-Based Medicine

Daniella Zipkin serves as an Associate Professor of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. Over the course of her career, Daniella Zipkin has made numerous contributions to the Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) movement though research, instructional courses, and national presentations. EBM is an approach to patient care that focuses on integrating patient values, clinical experience, and best available research.

In order to effectively utilize EBM, medical professionals must remain well versed in the most recent and relevant data, and communicate the evidence effectively to patients. Dr. Zipkin has reviewed the literature on best practices regarding presenting risks and benefits to patients, and the review was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2014, accessible at http://annals.org/issue.aspx?journalid=90&issueid=930674.

This review has informed the production of Bottom Line evidence summaries, available through the Web Only section of the Journal of General Internal Medicine’s website, at http://www.sgim.org/web-only, and then choosing the “Bottom Line Summary” box.

EBM begins and ends with the patient. Bottom Line summaries can be used by clinicians in encounters with patients, to aid in communicating high impact data in a way that patients can apply to their own experience.

How Parents Can Find a Balance Between Work and Home

An assistant professor at the Duke University School of Medicine, Dr. Daniella Zipkin also practices her specialty, internal medicine. Married with two children, Dr. Daniella Zipkin daily confronts the challenges of balancing a busy medical career with caring for and raising her family.

Working parents sometimes lose track of how well–or how poorly–they are balancing their work life with their home life. It is easy to think that as long as a child is well cared for, as in child care, all of his or her needs are being met. Parents of young children should try to take time during the day to spend with their children while they are fully awake and active. Parents for whom that is impossible should make a point to participate in activities with their children during the weekend.

As children grow older, they can help with getting the family’s chores done, both on weekday evenings and weekends. This is not only great family time, but it also helps develop a work ethic. Family time spent together should not be all work and no play, though. There needs to be time set aside for doing fun things. This includes attending and participating in events and activities at children’s schools. In addition, parenting partners must set aside private time for themselves to maintain and strengthen their own relationship.

Utah’s Snow is Among the Greatest on Earth

A graduate of the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, Daniella Zipkin, MD, is currently an assistant professor at the Duke University Medical Center, where she teaches a curriculum in evidence-based medicine. In her personal life, Dr. Daniella Zipkin is an avid snowboarder with a special affinity for the powdery snow of Utah’s mountains.

Marketed as the greatest on earth, Utah’s snow is well known for being dry and light, which produces the high-quality powder that attracts skiers from around the world. In addition, Utah receives many significant snow storms each year, which increases the number of powder days and often leads to long seasons of very enjoyable skiing. In fact, Utah’s snow is so fun to ski that in 2010 it took seven of Ski Magazine’s top 10 rankings for snow.

The reason for Utah’s excellent skiing is largely the result of its geography. Because most of the state is considered desert, it is quite arid, which saps its snow of much of its moisture and allows it to remain light and fluffy. Also, the Great Salt Lake in northern Utah is so large that it creates a lake effect on regional snow storms and leads to huge accumulations in the surrounding mountains. These facts, combined with Utah’s large mountain peaks, make the state’s resorts a world-class destination for ski and snow enthusiasts.

Tips for Balancing Work and Parenting

by Dr. Daniella Zipkin

As an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Duke University Medical Center, and mother of two toddlers, Dr. Daniella Zipkin juggles her time between work and family. Here, Dr. Zipkin offers tips based on her ability to balance these two important aspects of her life:

1. Establish consistent routines. Regular morning and bedtime routines offer a lot of stability in the lives of toddlers and small children, since they will know what to expect. If you are lucky enough to have a work schedule with regular hours, make sure you are a part of these rituals each day, to the extent that you’re able. If your shifts vary or you often work late or overnight, set clear expectations ahead of time, and consider creating a calendar system once your child is old enough to understand one. Giving the child some control by letting them look ahead at what’s coming should ease the turbulence for them.

2. Streamline mealtime. Prepare simple foods you can eat for a few nights, or try cooking on weekends and freezing foods for the week to come. Sit down each evening for a family meal so everyone can stay connected.

3. Turn off the TV, computer, and video games. These activities waste significant amounts of time you could be spending together as a family. Instead, enjoy one another’s company through group activities such as reading together, playing games, or doing puzzles.

4. Take the pressure off! It’s natural to feel some pull towards “making it up to the kids” when you do have time together, by planning special events or buying gifts. Remember that, to your toddlers and small children, the best thing they can have is time with you. Take the pressure off of your free time together, don’t worry about planning too much, and enjoy time at home, outside, or parks nearby.

5. Help your young child or toddler feel special by paying attention to their activities. Encourage them to do more of what they enjoy, and be sure to keep mementos of your time together with you when you work – whether that’s a drawing they have made, or photos you have taken together.