Evidence-based health care is a combination of best research evidence, the expertise of the healthcare provider and patient values.
A 'consumer' is any patient, carer or family member with personal experience on a specific medical condition, although some cultures prefer other terms, such as user or receiver of health care, patient, client, a member of the public, user, citizen, carer/caregiver or lay person.
The Cochrane Consumer Network consists of people committed to the importance of consumer participation in informed healthcare decision-making processes. If you can go online, you can find summaries of the best evidence on health care at: http://summaries.cochrane.org.
The Cochrane Consumer Network exists to support health care users, their parents and carers learn about evidence-based healthcare. It encourages consumers throughout the world to give their perspectives and help set priorities for health care.
The Network promotes the use of evidence-based healthcare to guide well-informed decisions about health care. CCNet offers communication support and training on using evidence to enable consumers to sift through the facts and benefit from The Cochrane Collaboration's systematic reviews on evidence-based healthcare.
How do consumers participate?
The Cochrane Collaboration invites consumers to work collaboratively with healthcare providers and researchers in over 50 areas of disease-based health care to ensure that evidence on the effects of healthcare interventions is accessible to the public. Its core function is to provide consumer input into developing and utilising the best evidence in health care.
The Cochrane Consumer Network (CCNet) was registered in October 1995, only a couple of years after the formation of the Collaboration itself. Its membership has grown from just a handful of members to over 600 participants from many different countries across the world.
The annual Cochrane colloquium provides an opportunity where consumers from a variety of countries can meet. A number of meetings and workshops are organized that provide consumers with a better understanding of The Cochrane Collaboration and how we can best contribute.
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