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Trusted evidence. Informed decisions. Better health.

August 2016


Priority review topics announced

Priority review topics

We are pleased to announce the following five topics have been selected as Cochrane Consumers and Communication priority reviews:
  • Interventions for communication about end of life care among health professionals and patients and their carers/families (New review)
  • Interventions to increase patient and family involvement in escalation of care for acute life threatening illness (New review)
  • Interventions for improving medical students’ communication skills in doctor-patient consultations (New review)
  • Methods of consumer involvement in developing healthcare policy and research, clinical practice guidelines and patient information material (Update)
  • Interventions to promote a patient-centred approach in clinical consultations (Update)
These reviews were identified as priorities as a result of our extensive consultations with consumers, carers, health professionals, health service managers, policy makers and researchers in 2015. You can read more about the project on our webpage, with a final report coming soon.

Our priority review author teams have exciting plans to continue to involve consumers and other stakeholders as their reviews get underway, and we will be working closely with the author teams to support them to produce a review that is meaningful and useful for policy and practice.

If you would like to learn more, or express an interest in getting involved in our priority reviews, please contact Annie Synnot.

New author resources released

We recently released new resources aimed to help support Cochrane review authors. The resources were developed in response to common areas that prove challenging for our review teams, and to help fill gaps in the practical how-to implementation of methods, particularly in cases where the review interventions are complex.

Resources are available from our website. The new resources are:
  • Summary of findings—a how-to guide to preparing summary of findings tables;
  • How to GRADE—a step-by-step guide to help work through assessment of the quality of the evidence;
  • Describing results—a practical guide to describing results consistently, including a list of common problems to avoid when presenting results; and
  • Identifying comparisons—a brief guide, with examples, on identifying comparisons in reviews of complex interventions.
We've also revised several of our existing author resources, to improve their usability and to ensure they are up to date. The updated resources are:
  • Protocol template and review template – these provide standardised wording and supplementary information to support authors when completing all sections of the protocol and review respectively
  • Several short methodological guides with a focus on supporting authors of reviews of complex interventions:
    • Examples of narrative synthesis and Examples of theoretical models;
    • Heterogeneity and subgroup analysis;
    • Meta-analysis; and
    • Narrative data synthesis and analysis.
 The resources are intended to be used alongside the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, and all are welcome to access and use them.
These resources were developed by our team’s Deputy Co-ordinating Editor, Dr Rebecca Ryan (great work, Rebecca!) We’ve had very positive feedback from other Cochrane Review Groups, and hope that our author teams will find these resources helpful.

Thanks to everyone who provided feedback about the resources. Your comments created this word cloud:

Project round up

Clinical practice guidelines: Reviews influencing practice

Clinical practice guidelines are one of the main ways clinicians access and apply the results of systematic and Cochrane reviews. It was very positive to see one of our Group's reviews, Consumer-providers of care for adult clients of statutory mental health services used as evidence in the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists' clinical practice guidelines for the management of schizophrenia and related disorders. Congratulations to review authors Veronica Pitt, Diane Lowe, Sophie Hill, Megan Prictor, Sarah Hetrick, Rebecca Ryan and Lynda Berends on this achievement.
Has your review helped shape policy and/or practice?
We are trying to compile a list of policy and practice literature (including clinical practice guidelines) which cite our reviews. We'd love to hear if your protocol or review has been cited in policy documents, clinical practice guidelines, government reports, reports by policy think tanks or consumer organisations. Please get in touch with Bronwen Merner

Clinical practice guidelines as indicators of healthcare practices

Molly O'Sullivan, a Master of Public Health student at La Trobe University, is investigating clinical practice guidelines as an indicator of key healthcare practices. Molly's research will consider which communication issues, such as information provision, decision making, patient education and involvement in care issues, have been considered to be important enough (a priority) to be included in clinical practice guidelines, and to what extent recommendations in these areas are based on evidence. Stay tuned for Molly's results.

ACTIVE project

Share your experience of consumer involvement in a systematic review with the ACTIVE team

Cochrane Consumers and Communication staff (Sophie Hill, Annie Synnot and Jack Nunn) have partnered with Dr Alex Pollock and her team at Glasgow Caledonian University, the Cochrane Consumer Network, Cochrane Training to deliver the ACTIVE project.
ACTIVE stands for Authors and Consumers Together Impacting on eVidencE, and its aim is to help Cochrane review authors have meaningful consumer involvement in their systematic reviews.

The ACTIVE team is currently collecting examples of active consumer involvement by doing a systematic review and collecting any resources or materials that have already been developed. They will then conduct video interviews with review authors or consumers who have been actively involved in reviews to capture real life experiences.

The Cochrane Training team will then use the videos and materials used to produce a collection of online learning resources designed to help Cochrane authors involve consumers in their reviews.

If you have any experience of active involvement in systematic reviews (as a review author, consumer, carer or health professional) that you would like to share with the team (or you would like to learn more), please contact Alex Pollock or Pauline Campbell.

Evidence Bulletins

The Centre for Health Communication and Participation has published Evidence Bulletins, a knowledge translation resource, since 2007. Each Bulletin provides a summary of key results from recent and relevant Cochrane Consumer and Communication systematic reviews. For example, a recent Bulletin summarised a review of interventions aimed to inform and educate communities about early childhood vaccination.
We recently revamped Evidence Bulletins to include a section spotlighting the relevance of review findings to the Australian healthcare setting and include web links to related resources. These new features are prepared with the assistance of policymakers at the Department of Health & Human Services, Victoria. Evidence Bulletins can be downloaded as PDFs and are distributed via email.

Like to receive new Evidence Bulletins? Please contact us to join our email list.

Cochrane Consumers and Communication people

Meet our team's Managing Editor

Bronwen Merner

Bronwen commenced as our Managing Editor in May 2016. She is a speech pathologist by background, although more recently has worked in the fields of health policy and project management. When Bronwen is not wearing her ME hat, she is busy trying to wrap-up her PhD in consumer involvement in medical error prevention (supervised by Sophie Hill and Michael Taylor). Bronwen works Mondays to Wednesdays.

Ann Jones is Assistant Managing Editor and has been invaluable in easing Bronwen into the ME role. Ann works on Tuesdays.


What are systematic reviews? A new learning resource

At the end of 2015, Cochrane Consumers and Communication launched a new video called What are systematic reviews? to help people understand what they are and why they are important.
The video can be accessed from Cochrane’s You Tube Channel and website.
The video has been translated into other languages (including Russian and Spanish) using a combination of subtitles and re-dubbing and has now been viewed over 12,000 times.

An animated storyboard was created to complement the video. As well as being more accessible for some users (using GIF files and text), this resource also categorises the learning resource into short sections which can be used and shared more easily.

All resources are licensed under Creative Commons so anyone can use and adapt them. The resources have been incorporated at Wikipedia’s page on Systematic Reviews which cites the animated storyboard as a source.
This resource has shown the power of creating free learning resources that can be used by anyone, and in particular, encouraging collaboration to translate resources into other languages.

Feedback is welcome. Please contact Jack Nunn or @JackNunn on Twitter.

Please share!

Cochrane Crowd

Opportunities for citizen scientists

Cochrane Crowd provides opportunity for interested participants to become citizen scientists. Anyone can join our collaborative volunteer effort to help categorise and summarise healthcare evidence. 

No previous experience is required, and interested participants can start now or read some frequently asked questions about one of the tasks.

Task Exchange

A bigger team than you think

Task Exchange is a platform that connects people who need help with their Cochrane reviews with people who have the time and expertise to help.

Task Exchange is under active development. Help us make the platform work for you. Suggestions and feedback are welcome, so get in touch. Tasks are listed now. See more

Centre for Health Communication and Participation
Year in review 2015

The bigger picture

Cochrane Consumers and Communication is part of the Centre for Health Communication and Participation at Melbourne's La Trobe University. Our report highlighting 2015 activities and outcomes is now available. We've also developed a new brochure about our activities which is also available.
Copyright © 2016 Cochrane Consumers and Communication. All rights reserved.

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School of Psychology and Public Health
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La Trobe University VIC 3086
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Centre for Health Communication and Participation · La Trobe University · Melbourne, VIC 3086 · Australia

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