Health Consumers

Evidence-based medical care arises from the intersection of the best evidence available, the experience of healthcare professionals, and the needs of health consumers.

The involvement of these individuals is crucial for tailoring research to the actual needs of patients and is important at every stage of the Cochrane systematic review process. They can identify the most important clinical questions and priorities that will determine the topics of upcoming articles.

For instance, patients with chronic illnesses and their caregivers can suggest what researchers should focus on, as they are uniquely positioned to evaluate the risks and benefits of the interventions or medications they encounter in daily life.

Some of them actively participate in the drafting of systematic reviews, developing a specific section called the Plain Language Summary. This section summarizes methods and results using language suitable for dissemination to the general public. Others may handle article translation, manual research, or outreach articles.

Cochrane considers the involvement of patients, their families, caregivers, and all citizens interested in improving their health and healthcare to be essential. These individuals are collectively referred to as health consumers. Their involvement in Cochrane is coordinated by the Cochrane Consumer Network.

Cochrane Evidence Essentials is an introduction to Evidence Based Medicine, clinical trials and Cochrane evidence. It is designed for healthcare consumers (patients, care givers, family members), policy makers and members of the healthcare team.

You will be guided through the modules by the personal learning journey of ‘Eleni’, a fictional consumer. The modules are presented in the form of a story, but you are free to skip this and explore the learning in any way you choose. The learning is interactive, with things to read, film and audio, quizzes, and ways to check your learning. There are links to further resources if you wish to continue learning about a particular topic.

This learning has been co-produced by healthcare consumers, researchers and specialists from Cochrane’s Central Executive Team, with contributions from a range of experts in their fields.