Guest author: Janet Wale
member of the Cochrane Consumer Network
People are still struggling with evidence or modern medicine clinicians, patients, health consumers, carers and the public alike. Part of this is because we always thought medicine was based on quality research, or evidence. It is not only that. For evidence to be used most effectively in healthcare systems researchers, clinicians and the existing or potential patients and carers have to communicate and resonate with each other – to share knowledge and responsibilities both in developing the evidence and in individual decision making. On the broader population level, this may include consultation but is best achieved by developing partnerships.
The Cochrane Collaboration develops a large number of the published systematic reviews of best evidence on healthcare interventions, available electronically on The Cochrane Library. Systematic reviews are integral to the collation of evidence to inform clinical practice guidelines. They are also an integral part of health technology assessments, where the cost-effectiveness of healthcare interventions is determined for a particular health system.
With the availability of the Internet we are able to readily share information. We are also acutely aware of disadvantage for many of the Worlds populations. What this has meant is pooled efforts. Now we have not only the World Health Organization but also The Cochrane Collaboration, Guidelines International Network, and Health Technology Assessment International. What is common among these organizations? They involve the users of health care, including patients, consumers and carers. The latter three organizations have a formal consumer/patient and citizen group that informs their work. In this way we work to make the evidence relevant, accessible and being used. We all have to be discerning whatever knowledge we are given and apply it to ourselves.
This is a short post on request.
It also appeared as a comment at: http://e-patients.net/archives/2009/11/tell-the-fda-the-whole-story-please.html
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