Both patients and healthcare professionals can access summaries of Cochrane reviews online to help them make healthcare decisions based on strong research evidence. –Filepic
The world-renowned Cochrane Collaboration, which produces credible and accessible health information, recently launched the Malaysian Cochrane Network locally, paving the way for more evidence-based treatments in our healthcare system.
According to Cochrane CEO Mark Wilson, the Malaysian Cochrane Network was officially formed as a branch of the Australasian Cochrane Centre last September.
It is made up of five network sites: Universiti Malaya, Penang Medical College (PMC), Universiti Sains Malaysia, the Research and Technical Support Programme of the Health Ministry, and Melaka Manipal Medical College.
Cochrane is a global independent network of health practitioners, researchers, patient advocates and others in 120 countries working together to produce credible and accessible health information in the form of Cochrane reviews.
Cochrane reviews are systematic reviews that pool together and evaluate the results of similar clinical trials worldwide. These trials usually look at the efficacy and safety of various new drugs, devices or other forms of medical treatment or diagnosis.
“Now that we have the network, we must work at ensuring that health care workers incorporate the findings of Cochrane reviews into the decisions they make about patient care,” said Malaysia Cochrane Network convener Prof Dr Jacqueline Ho.
Speaking at the ceremony officiated by Health deputy director-general Dr Shahnaz Murad in Kuala Lumpur, the PMC deputy dean of academic affairs added that there are now 220 clinicians and researchers in Malaysia who have written a total of 70 Cochrane reviews.
Prof Ho, a paediatrician and long-time Cochrane author, also said that these reviews could be used by policymakers, clinicians and patients to make evidence-based decisions about their health.
Patients, in particular, could be more empowered to participate in the decision-making process on effective treatment choices.
“We hope that the public understands the importance of the Cochrane reviews and make use of the findings for their own health and wellbeing,” she said.
Wilson said that Cochrane’s vision was to see a world of improved health where decisions about health and healthcare would be based on research evidence.
“A systematic review summarises the results of available carefully-designed healthcare studies and provides a high level of evidence on the effectiveness of healthcare treatments and drugs,” he explained.
He said that Cochrane review results can, for instance, help the Health Ministry in making better choices in buying medicines and health devices, based on high-quality, relevant and up-to-date synthesised researches.
Members of the public interested in reading non-technical summaries of Cochrane reviews can visit summaries.cochrane.org. Meanwhile, healthcare professionals in Malaysia will be able to access The Cochrane Library online (www.thecochranelibrary.com) for free for one month beginning May 28.