Objective: Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense health care providers and educators serve as primary channels of communication with veterans but may not understand the importance and benefits of risk communication to inform and empower veterans about actions to take or not take to improve the quality of their health. This article describes the importance of understanding and applying risk communication principles in communicating to veterans about the potential for health concerns/impacts from deployment-related exposures.
Results: The principles of risk communication as relevant to clinical encounters are presented, focusing on a review of risk perception factors influencing deployment-related exposure concerns. Results show that risk communication can impact how veterans will take in and process information about deployment-related exposures.
Conclusion: This article illustrates how providers can effectively use risk communication to structure better clinical encounters and communication with veterans.