Number Needed to Treat – Quick Summaries of Evidence Based Medicine

Explaining risks and benefit to patients is ‘core business’ in primary care.

We have previously looked at  ‘Reckoning the Risk’ by Prof Gerd Gigerenzer.

At the beginning of the last century, HG Wells is reported to have predicted “Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write”. In this century, Prof Gigerenzer challenges our innumeracy, encouraging us to ‘dare to know’ through the habit of sound statistical thinking. He advises us to insist on receiving appropriate numeric representation and to develop the tools to communicate risk accurately to our patients.

The NNT is a website that collects the ‘Number Needed to Treat’ from hundreds of studies for treatments and interventions that we may be considering for our patients.

They have an excellent primer on the NNT, absolute risk and relative risk. It  is accompanied by this video.

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