Understanding health evidence in COVID-19 times

Someone at home looking up health evidence on laptop

We all wish we were at least a little scientifically literate, so we can become competent enough to spot what is evidence based. Whether it's a chat over the fence with a neighbour or something you spot on social media, it's hard to know how to assess the quality of health claims. For many people  accessing health claims isn't something they've considered to do before or needed to do until now. 

The World Health Organization defines an infodemic as “overabundance of information – some accurate and some not – that occurs during an epidemic. It can lead to confusion and ultimately mistrust in governments and public health response”. This has been a particular challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic, with misinformation being shared often, and fast.

Listed below is online learning that is freely available to anyone who is interested in an introduction to evidence-based healthcare, Cochrane evidence, and how to use it. A great resource for yourself and to pass on to family and friends! 


Cochrane Evidence Essentials
What? Four  free learning modules that give an introduction to Evidence Based Medicine, clinical trials and Cochrane evidence.
How? You will be guided through four learning modules by Eleni, a fictional character who is looking for reliable evidence to help her make informed choices. By following Eleni’s story, users can explore topics that include Evidence Based Medicine, clinical trials, systematic reviews, and how to find, understand and use Cochrane evidence. The learning is engaging and includes contributions from a wide range of subject matter experts, quizzes, short films, audio, interviews, interactive graphics, and links to further information for people who wish to learn more.
Designed for?  Designed for patients, care givers, family members (anyone interested in health evidence) policy makers and members of the healthcare team. 

Evidently Cochrane
What?
Blog posts usually featuring new or updated Cochrane reviews on a health topic that aim to make Cochrane evidence really accessible and to encourage discussion about it. The blogs often include a patient or practitioner perspective. Run by Cochrane UK. 
How? Weekly blog posts and  special series with multiple blogs, and other resources, on one topic.
Designed for? Designed for patients, carers, healthcare professionals and clinical support staff and health researchers.

iHeath Facts
What?
Quickly and easily check the reliability of a health claim circulated by social media. Supported by Cochrane Ireland. 
How?
Submitted health claims are researched and checked by a panel to provide robust, unbiased response. 
Design for? 
The general public.

Students 4 Best Evidence (also available in Spanish)
What? A website pulling together resources on Evidence-Based Healthcare into one interactive space. 
How? Run by a global  network of students, from school age to university, who are interested in learning more about evidence-based health care.
Designed for? For those training to be a doctor, nurse or other health professional, or school student thinking about studying medicine or doing health research. 

Nutrimedia 
Language: Spanish.
What? A website that evaluates the truthfulness of food-related health claims from the news, social media and advertising, as well as those submitted by the public.
How? A Cochrane Iberoamerica panel conducts a pragmatic review and uses the GRADE approach to assess the certainty of the evidence.
Designed for? The general public.

Cochrane Responde
Language: Spanish.
What? Answers to health questions of matter to the citizens and other questions based on Cochrane reviews.
How? Each month a question is answered in a structured way and in plain language.
Designed for? The general public.

Evidence Essentials
Language:
German.
What? 
Four  free learning modules that give an introduction to Evidence Based Medicine, clinical trials and Cochrane evidence.
How? You will be guided through four learning modules by Eleni, a fictional character who is looking for reliable evidence to help her make informed choices. By following Eleni’s story, users can explore topics that include Evidence Based Medicine, clinical trials, systematic reviews, and how to find, understand and use Cochrane evidence. The learning is engaging and includes contributions from a wide range of subject matter experts, quizzes, short films, audio, interviews, interactive graphics, and links to further information for people who wish to learn more.
Designed for?  Designed for patients, care givers, family members (anyone interested in health evidence) policy makers and members of the healthcare team. 

Other related resources:

Friday, February 19, 2021
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