This year is the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the first Cochrane Centre in Spain. It was founded in 1997 as the Spanish Cochrane Centre and was located at the Corporació Sanitària Parc Taulí in Sabadell. In 2000, the Centre was renamed the Iberoamerican Cochrane Centre (IbCC), and has continued its activity at its current headquarters in the Hospital de la Santa Creui Sant Pau in Barcelona.
To celebrate this 20 years of history, the Centre held a conference on 24-25 May – within the framework of CIBERESP – to observe the different aspects related to this initiative and to offer training activities. The conference was held in the Casa de Convalescencia, one of the Art Nouveau venues of the hospital, and Cochrane CEO Mark Wilson participated in the opening of the event, together with Jaime Kulisevsky (Director of the Biomedicinal Research Institute Sant Pau), and Xavier Bonfill (Director of the Iberoamerican Cochrane Network). The projection of two videos, from Elena Andradas (Director of Public Health, Quality and Innovation, Spanish Ministry of Health) and from a representative of the Spanish Organisation of Consumers and Users, completed the opening.
The topics of the different panel discussions held the first day of the event were “How are the systematic reviews needed today and how can we use them better?”– with the participation of Karla Soares-Weiser (Cochrane's Deputy Editor in Chief) talking about new horizons of Cochrane Reviews; “Methodological tools to answer research questions”; and several experiences of systematic reviews.
On 25 May there were several workshops about GRADE and systematic reviews – free under registration – taught by members of the Iberoamerican Cochrane Network.
Furthermore, the evening before the conference, the former and current IbCN staff threw a party to celebrate the anniversary. The event included different types of musical and comedy performances. Some of our former staff members and friends contributed to this lovely evening by sending their greetings via video from all over the world.
Interview with Mark Wilson
"People need different types of evidence"
The first Cochrane Centre in Spain, established at Hospital Parc Taulí in Sabadell, in Barcelona, is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Mark Wilson, CEO of Cochrane, spoke in Casa de Convalescencia in Barcelona.
This year marks 20 years since the first Cochrane Centre in Spain was established, in Hospital Parc Taulí in Sabadell. A decade before, the Clinical Epidemiology Service was founded in this very same centre. In 2000, both the Cochrane Centre and part of the Clinical Epidemiology Service, moved to the Hospital de San Pablo, in Barcelona, where it currently resides.
On the occasion of this anniversary, a conference was held, during which various aspects related to the Cochrane initiative were reviewed and the current and future challenges of the organization discussed.
Mark Wilson, CEO of Cochrane, answered questions in an interview with Diario Médico, translated into English below.
Question. How did the Cochrane project begin?
Answer. Cochrane was founded in Oxford in 1993 by an international group of experts. The decision was made to hold an annual scientific meeting, which we now refer to as the Colloquium. It was there we met Xavier Bonfill, who would later go on to establish Cochrane in Spain.
Q. How has the project developed?
A. In the last 20 years, Cochrane has cemented itself as the most recognised and respected producer of scientific systematic Reviews, synthesizing health evidence. Our Library houses some 7,000 Cochrane Reviews, and there are around a million randomized controlled trials in our database. There are 120 groups around the world working on Cochrane projects, including the involvement of almost 42,000 people who produce systematic Reviews of the highest quality. We must recognize that patients’ and professionals’ evidence needs are very different now compared to a few years ago.
Q. What do you think are the current challenges you face?
A. Our model is successful, but we are aware that things that worked in the past will not necessarily work in the future. As an organisation, we need to be prepared for increasingly difficult demands. But the most important aspect, in terms of our global impact, is to recognize that the evidence needs of patients, consumers, researchers, doctors and politicians differ to what they were previously.
Q. How have these needs changed?
A.People need new and different forms of evidence; as well as different approaches. Information also needs to be more accessible and closely available, for health professionals as well as for politicians, journalists, patients and users in general.
Q. Information adapted to new technology....
A. Exactly. In fact, a few years ago, we launched a new website which was more smartphone friendly. We also include a reference to try to simplify information to make it more accessible. For each Review, as well as the usual abstract, we write a shorter summary, with simpler language that is easier for users with a non-health background to understand. In addition, we have made a solid commitment to translating Cochrane content into 14 languages. The Cochrane Iberoamérica network has been a great help, translating content into Spanish, which are some of the most viewed pages.
Q. How have these improvements affected results?
A. They are impressive. Two years ago we had 900,000 visits per quarter and now we have 3 million in the same period. Another development we are very proud of is offering our users a tool that can insert data into a Review, allowing them to play around to identify different populations, interventions, comparisons and results.
Q. Which other projects are in the pipeline?
A. Many professionals do not find an answer to their question in a single Review. They may need different articles and it can be very difficult to come to the right conclusions by comparing or using many reviews that may differ greatly.
This is why we are developing new types of Reviews, containing information about certain solutions, which are not in our Library; we are also working on Reviews with an overview on a particular topic. We are developing new systems to integrate people and technology in different ways. We are currently investing in a robot capable of producing the first draft of a review with virtually no human intervention; it’s early days but it really simplifies work for our team.