A network for students interested in evidence-based health care

The challenges of communication

Posted on 2nd April 2013 by

Learning Resources
Andre Tomlin & Tracey Brown

What are the challenges of communication?

Good communication of evidence is one of the most important things in healthcare. We saw in a previous talk from Martin Burton that the decision on whether to use conditional probabilities or natural frequencies in the communication of risk can impact understanding of risk. Using conditional probabilities result in overestimation of risk.

This is a talk on “The Challenges of Communication” from the 2nd Plenary Session of the 21st Cochrane UK and Ireland Symposium.


André Tomlin from evidence-based healthcare consultancy Minervation Ltd., explains how social media and cutting edge communication tools can be used to disseminate high quality evidence. He is also joined by Tracey Brown from Sense about Science, a charitable trust that equips people to make sense of scientific and medical claims in public discussion. Tracey is an expert in working with journalists and the media in promoting a better understanding of research.

How long?

The talk is 49 minutes long.


I’m really interested in how we communicate health information to the public and this talk highlights the importance of good communication.

For people who are new to social media, André gives us a great introduction to the importance of the internet and social media in the communication of information. He then progresses to show us how his blog The Mental Elf and the great debunker of psuedoscience and quackery David Colquhoun have fixed problems through the power of the blogosphere.

A brief tangent about photgraphing Wayne Rooney’s testicles during the first Q+A session was unexpected (but hilarious) but it soon moves onto the second speaker.

The second speaker, Tracy Brown, director of Sense about Science talks about her experience at Sense About Science and what they do. She then elaborates on how successful their campaigns have been. You can find the resources from Sense about Science on their website here.

Overall it was a really interesting talk and something I’ll definitely watch again.


[1] Tomlin A, Brown T, Burton M. The Challenges of communication facing the Cochrane Collaboration, Cochrane UK & Ireland 21st Anniversary Symposium [Internet, Video]. Youtube, UK Cochrane Centre; 22 March 2013 [cited 2 April 2013]. Available from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=T22VDS-9clQ



Hi! I work at Cochrane UK as the Communications & Engagement Officer, as part of the role I administering this web site. Do get in contact if you would like to know more or get involved with S4BE. View more posts from Holly

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