What is a consumer?
A healthcare consumer is any actual or potential recipient of health care. Healthcare consumers who use Cochrane evidence are generally patients, carers and family members, or people interested in remaining healthy who are seeking information about a health condition or treatment for personal use. CCNet, Cochrane’s consumer network, also includes members of patient advocacy groups and others with an interest in the organization of healthcare, such as practitioners seeking patient participation in health research.
The Cochrane Consumer Network is made up of people committed to the importance of consumer participation in informed healthcare decision-making processes. (You can find summaries of the best evidence on health care at: http://www.cochrane.org/evidence).
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 Cochrane's systematic reviews on evidence-based healthcare.
How do consumers participate?
Cochrane 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.
Cochrane Consumer Network (CCNet) was registered in October 1995, only a couple of years after the formation of Cochrane itself. Its membership has grown from just a handful of members to over 1700 participants in 79 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 Cochrane and how we can best contribute.
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