The term consumer applies to anyone who uses, is affected by, or entitled or compelled to use a health related service. A consumer is anyone who is concerned with making wise health care decisions, whether they are a patient, family member, or caregiver.
Cochrane’s aim to help people make informed decisions about health care means that consumers should be active players in the review process and in bringing Cochrane reviews to fellow consumers in the most effective way possible. The Cochrane Musculoskeletal Group works closely with consumer groups internationally and especially within Canada and Australia to make sure our reviews are relevant to people with musculoskeletal diseases. We also work with them to ensure that the results of our reviews reach the people who want them most.
There is a bounty of ways for you to become involved in making Cochrane more effective and available to consumers. We have an extremely active consumer group and are looking to involve more enthusiasts who would be interested in supporting the CM’s work in any number of roles.
While working with the Arthritis Society of Canada, it was decided that the best way to make our results available was to create consumer summaries of our reviews. These summaries are written in plain language and provide the bottom line about treatments for arthritis and other musculoskeletal diseases. Our consumer summaries are available for free here. In a similar way, plain language summaries of our reviews are also available on the web site of Arthritis Victoria in Australia.
We have also worked with people at the Ottawa Health Research Institute to develop worksheets to help people make decisions about treatments for arthritis and other musculoskeletal diseases. If you need to make a decision about a treatment, these decision aids may help you work through making the decision. Click here for decision aids based on CM reviews.