The Cardiovascular Risk Communication Toolkit

April 14, 2016

As part of our ongoing project to use human-centred design and evidence-based medicine to improve cardiovascular risk communication in clinical practice, we’ve developed a prototype toolkit for doctors and we are crowdsourcing feedback.


The Situation
Communicating cardiovascular risk is challenging. Translating complex epidemiological concepts and population-level statistics to patient-level information that can be used for decision-making is not easy. Although an abundance of risk communication tools and strategies have been tested, doctors still receive little communications training. Research indicates there is much room for improvement.

The Approach
We sought to build a simple tool that could be used in clinical consultations to increase patient understanding of current risk, modifiable risk, and to facilitate the development of a patient-centred risk reduction plan. In a half-day workshop, we brought together world-leading experts of general practice, evidence based medicine, cardiovascular risk, and design.  We used human-centred design methods, such as journey maps and persona development, with principles of evidence-based medicine to ideate how to improve CVD risk communication. We looked at the needs and experiences of both doctors and patients, and mapped the pain points across the consultation journey, creating several concepts for different opportunity areas.

The consultation journey map we developed is freely available* and can be used to map other aspects of clinical consultations.

The Outcome
We designed an open-source, paper-based, tool that can be used by doctors and patients to facilitate cardiovascular risk assessment, communication, and decision-making. In order to foster patient engagement, visual thinking is an important aspect of the tool. The toolkit includes a visual library to inspire doctors with ideas of how to sketch the concepts they are trying to communicate. The workflow of the booklet mirrors that of a clinical consultation in general practice.

The toolkit* contains:

  1. A Shared Care Plan
    This is to be completed with the patient and for the patient to keep.
  2. Quick Guide to Using the Shared Care Plan
    Brief instructions for clinicians who want to use the Shared Care Plan
  3. Visual Library for Doctors
    Some helpful sketches for clinicians to use as inspiration for drawing their own care plans

You can download the toolkit prototype here.

Next Steps
Over the next month, partner GPs will be using the toolkit and providing ideas for refinement. The prototype is publicly available in order to foster open collaboration. If you’d like to try using the toolkit, give it a shot, and let us know what you think. After crowdsourcing feedback, we will refine the toolkit and publish it freely for use and adaptation by anyone.

If you’re keen to learn more, be sure to attend our event at Evidence Live, where we are hosting a workshop on how we designed and use the toolkit.

*Cite as: Collins, D., Marcoli, S. (2016). Evidence-Based Consultation Journey Map.
CEBMJ. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.1.1633.5766

Collins, D., Marcoli, S.  (2016).  The Cardiovascular Risk Communication Toolkit.
CEBMJ. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.1.2157.8644

DylanCollins_wideDylan Collins is a Rhodes Scholar, Healthcare Designer, and PhD Candidate at the Centre for Evidence-based Medicine at the University of Oxford.

Dylan Collins (@DylanRJCollins) | Twitter
DPhil Candidate, Rhodes Schola @oxprimarycare  @CebmOxford @uniofoxford | Tweeter of



Stefania Marcoli is a Principal Designer specialised in healthcare, at frog.

Stefania Marcoli (@stefina) | Twitter
People stories. Draw the future, make it today. Principal Designer @frogdesign



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