The CauseHealth Series: Chapter 3 - Probability for the Clinical Encounter with Dr Elena Rocca


Welcome to another episode of The Words Matter Podcast.

This is the 3rd episode of The CauseHealth series, exploring the book Rethinking Causality, Complexity and Evidence for the Unique Patient (you can download the book here). And today I’m speaking again with Dr Elena Rocca about chapter 3 which is titled Probability for the Clinical Encounter (see full chapter here).

Together with Dr Rani Lill Anjum and Dr Samantha Copeland, Elena is one of the Editors for the CauseHealth book.  Elena is an Interdisciplinary Researcher with background in pharmacy, biology and theory of science at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) (see her research here).

In this episode we talk about:

  • The different conceptions of probability including frequentism and propensity theory.
  • The different ways that probability features in the natural world compared to the social word, and relate this to the some of current challenges of predicting behaviours of societies during the pandemic.
  • Where, how and in what form probability and probabilistic reasoning comes into clinical practice.
  • The overlap between developing an empathetic relationship and obtaining causal evidence from knowing the person suffering.
  • The dilemma which at the core of CauseHealth which is making decisions about a person informed by evidence or knowledge which are not from that person, but in the form of theory, research evidence or previous experience.

I really enjoyed talking to Elena. She held my hand brilliantly through a challenging topic and we tried to clearly link probability to clinical practice, so as with all these CauseHealth episodes, this chapter should provide an inviting doorway into her chapter 3 on probability.

Find Elena on Twitter @ElenaRoccaPD

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