Health care based on evidence is built on the best clinical research, the experience of health professionals and patients' needs
Cochrane promotes the involvement of patients, citizens and members of lay associations in its activities. They are grouped under the name of "consumers" and are coordinated by the Cochrane Consumer Network, which helps to orient, develop and disseminate systematic reviews.
Consumers' help is essential to adapt the research to the real needs of patients and it is important at every stage of the review process. The consumer, in fact, helps to identify clinical questions which will develop future revisions, suggest important outcomes for patients, "weights" risks and benefits of interventions.
Some of them actively participate in the drafting of systematic reviews, developing a specific section, the Plain Language Summary, which summarizes methods and results using language appropriate to lay people. Others are involved in the translation of the articles, the manual search, the disclosure or, more simply, benefit from the new evidence produced by the Cochrane reviews.
How to be involved
Cochrane Crowd (http://crowd.cochrane.org/) is Cochrane’s online citizen science platform. Anybody can help us with identifying, classifying and describing research to decide if it should be included in our systematic reviews. You don’t need to be a health professional! Accompanying each task is a brief training module. You can contribute as much or as little time as you want. Anyone is welcome to sign up and join this collective effort- No previous experience is required. You can read some frequently asked questions or watch our two minute video.
TaskExchange (http://taskexchange.cochrane.org/) is Cochrane’s online platform where you can offer to help with projects by contributing your specific skills. Examples include translation, responding to surveys, taking part in consultations, creating digital content, participating in consumer groups, helping to set future priorities, and adding Cochrane reviews to websites like Wikipedia. There are tasks for beginners, and there are also more technical tasks for people with statistical, scientific or clinical experience. You can volunteer for an existing task, or make a profile so that people can find you when they are looking for a particular skill.
Go to the Cochrane Consumer Network website to see which Cochrane group works on the heatlh issue of your interest.
PartecipaSalute is an interdisciplinary research project between patients' organizations and citizens, medical societies, researchers and experts in communication and science.