How the media report about medical diagnostic tests

Non-invasive blood tests offer new possiblities to detect genetic anomalies of unborn children early and risk-free. But these new diagnostic tests raise ethical and social questions to a new level. At-home-tests for HIV infection and cancer that can be purchased on the web and can be operated without a doctor at hand are similarly controversial.

Thus, the media have an important role reporting about medical diagnostic tests, enabling and moderating the public discourse about them.

MEDIATE, started in October 2017, seeks to promote and improve this public discourse with evidence-based, ethically reflective science communication. Within the project we are focussing on non-invasive prental molecular tests, at-home-tests and direct-to-consumer genetic tests.

At the heart of the project stands a workshop series for young science journalists and doctors from TU Dortmund University's Institute and School of Journalism and Freiburg University Medical Center. With support from experienced colleagues, the young journalists and doctors will assess the quality of a sample of texts about medical diagnostic tests. Another goal is to refine quality criteria for the reporting about diagnostic test together with experts from medicine and journalism. The whole project is organized to enable a dialogue between those groups about the societal consequences of medical innovation.