Making health decisions: Sarah’s story

Sarah making a health decision

Healthcare decision making can be complex – learn from Sarah’s personal story and make use of Cochrane resources.

Evidence-based healthcare is the integration of the best research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values. It is often represented with these three elements in a Venn diagram with these three equally important elements. However, decision making in healthcare isn’t always so neat and uncomplicated.  Cochrane systematic reviews contribute to the best available, current, valid, and relevant evidence in this process. Cochrane is also committed to helping others understand evidence-based healthcare and the role of evidence.

Sarah Chapman, a former nurse with a long career in health research, had progressive hearing loss since early adulthood. Recently she was faced with a life changing decision if she would like to go ahead with an optional cochlear implant. In this video with illustrations by Karen Morley, Sarah talks us through her personal story of healthcare decision making and how evidence and other factors fit into her thinking.


Sarah explains, “We are messy creature full of messy emotions, living complex lives, and it's in that space that we make our healthcare decisions. Understanding evidence and learning to spot which health information is trustworthy is important to all patients and caregivers – and Cochrane has the resources that can help with this.” You can learn more about Sarah’s in her personal blog, ‘From Ear to Eternity.’

Cochrane has a long and rich history of collaborating with healthcare consumers (patients, carers, and the public). Presenting our evidence in a way that is useful for people making decisions about healthcare and advocating for evidence in health and care is an important part of our work.

Cochrane’s Evidence Essentials is a free introduction to Evidence Based Medicine, clinical trials, systematic reviews, and how to use evidence when making decisions about your health. It was co-produced with patients and caregivers and it is presented a interactive and accessible manner.


Catherine Spencer, Cochrane CEO, says “For Cochrane to achieve its vision, producing high quality reviews of health evidence isn’t enough. Cochrane aspires to a world where all health decisions are informed by high-quality evidence – which means people need to first understand evidence and how to use it. As Sarah’s story shows, making health decisions can be complex. Cochrane’s Evidence Essentials helps people understand health evidence and how to use it. We hope that anyone new to the world of evidence-based healthcare will find this resource indispensable.”

Friday, January 19, 2024