Why consumer involvement in Cochrane research is so important

Why consumer involvement in Cochrane research is so important

Since its beginnings, Cochrane has involved healthcare consumers (the language is interesting but consumers are patients, care-givers, and family members and others) in producing new knowledge about healthcare treatments. The reasons for this are compelling. Consumers are the ultimate beneficiaries of all of Cochrane’s work. Our strapline is “Trusted evidence, informed decisions, better health”. Meaningfully involving patients is a key part of ensuring that we achieve our mission. This two minute video recorded for Cochrane Common Mental Disorders Review Group briefly sums up why we should all think about how we can involve consumers in our work.

Cochrane’s Statement of Principles for Consumer Involvement was adopted by the Cochrane Governing Board in 2017 and, amongst other things, says this: “Cochrane believes that the benefits of consumer involvement are best realised when consumers contribute throughout the process of production and dissemination of research.”

Cochrane’s author teams are at the forefront of producing the evidence that consumers increasingly rely on to make their healthcare decisions. There have been some inspiring examples of innovative work undertaken with consumers. You can hear Alex Pollock talk about how consumers were involved in shaping a Cochrane review here. And these resources – Involving People – have been designed to give author teams access to advice, a framework for thinking about involvement, and examples of how other people have done this complex but rewarding work.

Involvement can be a key part of Cochrane’s groups’ work too, from prioritisation to consumer peer review, and the new peer review policy more strongly emphasised the role of consumers. You can read a blog about what peer review feels like from a consumer perspective here.  Consumers are involved in the running of the organisation, from the Cochrane Consumer Network to the Cochrane Council. Learning from patients’ experiences and spreading information about Cochrane’s evidence is an important role for consumers too, see Cochrane UK’s Evidently Cochrane for example.

If you are thinking about involving consumers more in your work or are a consumer and want to get involved, here are 5 things you can do today!

  1. Subscribe to the Cochrane Consumer monthly news digest
  2. Join the the new International Network for Patient and Public Involvement in Health and Social Research
  3. Join the Cochrane Consumer Network
  4. Watch this video by Neal Haddaway talking about stakeholder involvement in evidence synthesis
  5. Follow these Twitter accounts @cochraneconsumr and @GlobalPPINet

For more support with involvement contact Richard Morley, Consumer Engagement Officer rmorley@cochrane.org

Thursday, December 19, 2019