3.4.8 The Consumer Network
The Cochrane Consumer Network (CCNet) supports consumer participation within The Cochrane Collaboration. Registered with The Cochrane Collaboration in October 1995, the Consumer Network encourages consumer involvement within The Cochrane Collaboration’s range of activities.
People with consumer perspectives play an integral and unique role in many aspects of The Cochrane Collaboration’s work. Their perspectives particularly influence:
- Descriptions of the full range of benefits, problems and ethical issues of healthcare interventions and the clinical trials that determine the usefulness of these interventions;
- The ready accessibility and ease of understanding of Cochrane reviews for a wide range of readers, particularly the general public;
- The role that consumer advocacy organisations can play in promoting the use of Cochrane reviews by the general public
The aims of the Consumer Network are:
- To support both consumers and the Cochrane entities who seek the participation of consumers;
- To make Cochrane reviews easy to understand and accessible to the general public;
- To increase public awareness about the importance of: synthesizing evidence from clinical trials, as in Cochrane reviews; registering ongoing clinical trials so that the information is readily accessible to consumers and review authors who synthesise the findings; being transparent about the protocols of clinical trials and enrolment status.
Current activities of the Consumer Network include:
- The development of support materials to enhance general public and consumer advocate participation in The Cochrane Collaboration;
- The running of training programs for active consumer involvement;
- The preparation of short, easy-to-read plain language summaries of all Cochrane reviews, which are accessible in The Cochrane Library, on the Cochrane website (www.cochrane.org/reviews) and via the Consumer Network.
The Consumer Network operates in a largely voluntary capacity, within a membership governance structure, under the umbrella of The Cochrane Collaboration. It relies on its members to provide the time, energy, enthusiasm and new ideas. The Network has two representatives on The Cochrane Collaboration’s international Steering Group, elected from the membership of the Consumer Network. Steering Group members’ term of office is three years.
For detailed information about the Consumer Network, please refer to the Network’s web pages at www.cochrane.org/consumers, its module in The Cochrane Library (under ‘About The Cochrane Collaboration’), or e-mail email@example.com.