Finding and using research evidence: A guide for citizens (Introduction)

Finding and using research evidence: A guide for citizens (Introduction)


Welcome to the course on finding and using
research evidence a guide for citizens my
name is Kaelan Moat and I’m from McMaster Health
Forum. I’ll be presenting the modules to you
in this course. This course was prepared by McMaster
Health Forum with funding support from the Ontario SPOR
SUPPORT unit In this introduction In this introduction I’ll present you with an overview and a
purpose of the course the first main reason for this course was to
help citizens and patients find and use the
best available research evidence to inform their own decision-making the modules that you’ll see as follow-up to
this particular module were designed to
address five commonly cited frustrations that a lot of people note having when they try
to access research evidence and other health
information We’ll get to those frustrations and later
modules. By addressing these concerns we hope that it will help you overcome these
frustrations when you’re trying to access
evidence to be better equipped to use high quality
evidence to make decisions in your own life and when you’re advocating for change that
he you want to see in your Health System. As mentioned in the previous slide there are five common frustrations that are experienced by citizens, patients and family members that this course will address. The first one is that the Internet has a lot of information of questionable quality. The second is that there are no useful supports for making health decisions based on this information. The third is that there is value in research evidence but it’s not always clear to people reading it how to act on the information presented. The fourth is that research needs to be put in context in order to understand. The fifth is that people often hear about new research through the media but they don’t really understand how to use it or whether it’s reported correctly The importance of this course to citizens and
members of the general public just stem from the fact that everyone has
many health related questions that they are
seeking answers to. When looking for these answers you can choose from a variety of sources. Finding trustworthy health information however is a challenge for everyone it’s even a challenge for highly trained researchers and professionals. There have been a number of initiatives to
help clinicians, public health professionals
and policymakers quickly find the evidence that
they need to answer their questions. These tools allow them to find the needles in
a haystack that is one piece of evidence
among many different sources. For clinicians there’s a database called
Accessss. For public health professionals there’s a
database called Health Evidence. For policymakers there’s a database called
Health Systems Evidence. This helps these professionals find the
highest quality research to answer their
questions. On the screen now we’re showing you
Accessss which is the database designed to support
clinicians in making decisions about the
health of individuals. Does treatment A work
better than treatment B? This is the resource for professionals
trying to answer that type of question. We’re now showing you Health Evidence
which is the database designed to support
public health Decision-makers to make decisions about
the health of populations. Does this mass media campaign work better
than another one to help stop people from
smoking? That’s the type of question that is answered
with this database. And we’re now showing you Health Systems
Evidence which is the resource designed to support policymakers make decisions about
how to strengthen Health Systems. All three of these resources are free to the public although they’re not
necessarily designed to support citizens. Citizens need resources like these but
packaged in a way that makes more sense to them. We’ll now transition to showing you those
types resources. Luckily there are people who are interested in
trying to develop tools that make it easier for citizens to quickly find
the information that they can trust and that they can use to inform their own
decisions. McMaster Optimal Aging Portal is one
illustration of such a tool. It focuses on
ensuring citizens and patients can quickly access the best available
health information that are relevant to the issues that they care
about most. This resource specifically focuses on optimal
aging but provides a great illustration to show
the many ways in which evidence can be better
packaged for use by citizens. It draws on the tools we just went over that
focus on information for clinicians, public health professionals, and
policymakers but the information is tailored
for citizens and patients. Some of the tools just mentioned help to put
the research evidence into a better context for
citizens to understand by incorporating
individuals’ lived experiences such as their experience
accessing Primary Care Services or in accessing follow-up Cancer Care
Services or by enlisting an individual’s values that can help them guide their decisions such as how their cultural beliefs may impact
the treatments they choose to go forward with. One area where more work is needed
however is that these tools incorporate Indigenous
Ways of Knowing. This would allow for more
culturally appropriate decisions by
indigenous peoples so that their values can also be considered
alongside the best available research
evidence. We’re now going to transition into showing you all of the available
resources in the McMaster Optimal Aging
Portal by focusing on how they address the
frustrations that are commonly cited by citizens and patients for accessing
health information. We’ll get to that in the next module.

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