Cochrane Austria: Championing Evidence-Based Healthcare

Cochrane Austria

Cochrane's strength lies in its collaborative, global community. Cochrane Geographic Groups represent Cochrane in their host country, advocate for the use of high-quality evidence syntheses in health policy and practice, and support Cochrane's members and supporters who live there. Here, we spotlight the impactful work of Cochrane Austria, dedicated to advancing evidence-based healthcare practices in their country.

Cochrane Austria officially opened as a Cochrane branch in 2010, at the University for Continuing Education Krems. They hosted the 2015 Cochrane Colloquium in Vienna and were awarded full centre status in  2017. With nearly 500 members and supporters, Cochrane Austria aims to support evidence-based decision-making in Austria and other German-speaking countries and build capacity through training activities.

Cochrane Austria Advisory Board Meeting in Krems 2023Cochrane Austria Advisory Board Meeting in Krems 2023

Cochrane Austria undertakes various projects to improve health-related decisions by providing access to the best available evidence for citizens, health care providers, and policy decision-makers. They operate the fact-checking platform, Medizin, which evaluates the accuracy of health-related information in the media. This free service enables German-speaking citizens, healthcare providers, and decision-makers to critically analyze health-related information they encounter in the media, attracting about 2 million visitors annually. Cochrane Austria also runs a rapid response service for healthcare professionals, funded by the State Health Agency of Lower Austria. This service provides rapid, evidence-based answers to clinical questions, ensuring that physicians and nurses in Austria can make well-informed decisions.

"There is a lot of misinformation in the media and even healthcare professionals can struggle to find trustworthy evidence. Cochrane Austria's knowledge translation efforts are making a significant impact on evidence-based decision making for citizens, patients, and healthcare providers in Austria," says Dr. Barbara Nußbaumer-Streit, Cochrane Austria Co-Director.

Some of our international mobility program participantsAlexandru and Larisa from Romania, Petter from Sweden, Piotr from Poland, and Raphaela from Sweden.

Training and upskilling the evidence synthesis skills in Austria is another major focus for Cochrane Austria. They provide regular training in methods of evidence-based medicine, such as critical appraisal of studies, interpreting statistics, doing systematic literature searches, and applying the GRADE approach. In 2024, Cochrane Austria launched a PhD program in "Applied Evidence Synthesis in Health Research" at the University for Continuing Education Krems. The program integrates the Cochrane International Mobility programme, allowing PhD students to benefit from the expertise of other Cochrane Centres.

"Cochrane Austria is equipping the next generation of researchers with a profound understanding of evidence-based medicine and the intricate methodologies involved in evidence synthesis. We are excited to play a pivotal role in shaping this promising future," notes Dr. Gerald Gartlehner, Cochrane Austria Co-Director. 

Cochrane Austria is co-convenor of the Cochrane Rapid Reviews Methods Group and Cochrane Public Health Europe, collaborates with several international partners, including the American College of Physicians, and the World Health Organization, and also support Cochrane Romania as an Affiliate Centre. These collaborations enhance the impact of their work and ensure the dissemination and uptake of Cochrane evidence. In May 2024, Cochrane Austria organized a meeting of all European Cochrane geographic groups in Vienna to foster and strengthen collaborations within Europe. 

Members of 18 Countries joined the European Cochrane Meeting in May 2024 in ViennaMembers of 18 Countries joined the European Cochrane Meeting in May 2024 in Vienna

Through projects like the European Health and Digital Executive Agency collaboration, Cochrane Austria supports EU Member States in decision-making on national vaccination programs. Additionally, as a WHO Collaborating Centre, Cochrane Austria members contributed to a systematic review that formed the basis for a global WHO guideline on preventing bloodstream infections from catheter use.

"Our collaboration with the WHO highlights our dedication to enhancing healthcare decision-making not only in Austria but also on a global scale. We are eager to contribute our expertise to these important projects," says Dr. Barara Nußbaumer-Streit.

Guideline Development Meeting at WHO in Geneva in 2023.Andreea Dobrescu, Barbara Nussbaumer-Streit, Gerald Gartlehner at the Guideline Development Meeting at WHO in Geneva in 2023

Cochrane Austria is excited about involving new PhD students in the Cochrane network, hosting Cochrane International Mobility programme participants, and continuing their knowledge translation and capacity-building activities. For those interested in contributing to Cochrane Austria's mission, please contact Barbara Nussbaumer-Streit at There are numerous opportunities to get involved and make a difference in the field of evidence-based healthcare!

Wednesday, June 19, 2024