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Cardiovascular risk prediction: how useful are web-based tools and do risk representation formats matter?

Waldron, Cherry-Ann 2011. Cardiovascular risk prediction: how useful are web-based tools and do risk representation formats matter? PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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Cardiovascular risk prediction tools are becoming increasing available on the web for people to use at home. However, research into the most effective ways of communicating cardiovascular risk has been limited. This thesis examined how well web-based cardiovascular risk prediction tools present cardiovascular risk and encourage risk reduction. Variation was found in both the quality of the risk communication and the number of features incorporated into the tools to facilitate decisions about lifestyle change and treatment. Additionally, past literature into the effectiveness of cardiovascular risk representation formats was systematically reviewed. This highlighted the need for more methodologically sound studies, using actual risk assessment rather than hypothetical risk scenarios. This thesis also described a four-armed web-based randomised controlled trial (RCT) conducted to examine the effects of different cardiovascular risk representation formats on patient-based outcomes. It comprised a cardiovascular risk formatter that presented risk in one of three formats: bar graph, pictogram and metonym (e.g. image depicting the seriousness of having a myocardial infarction). There were two control groups to examine the Hawthorne effect. In total, 903 respondents took part in the trial. The most successful recruitment methods were web-based, including staff electronic noticeboards and social networking sites. The RCT found that viewing cardiovascular risk significantly reduces negative emotions in the 'worried well', thus helping to correct inaccurate risk perceptions. There were no main effects of risk representation formats, suggesting that the way risk is presented had little influence on the population that were recruited, in terms of motivating behaviour change, facilitating understanding of risk information or altering emotion. However, a possible type II error occurred as the sample was unrepresentative, highly educated and biased towards those of low cardiovascular risk. Further research is needed to reach target audiences and engage those who would benefit the most from using risk assessment tools.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
ISBN: 9781303222894
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 05:57

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