Finding and using research evidence: A guide for citizens (Other sources of evidence)

Finding and using research evidence: A guide for citizens (Other sources of evidence)


The Internet is increasingly becoming the go-to place for health information. However it’s often difficult to know which sites are designed to give people the best evidence based information and which sites are designed to get people to spend their money. Helping people who are online looking for health information distinguish between the good information and the bad information is the first step toward helping them navigate through all of the noise. Welcome to module seven in the finding and
using research evidence a guide for citizens
course. In this module we’re going to talk about how
to find and use research evidence from other
sources. In this course we’ve covered McMaster
Optimal Aging Portal to provide illustrations of
an approach to support citizens and patients to find and
make better use of the best available research evidence for the topics related to aging. However citizens and patients may be
interested in topics that are not covered in
resources designed specifically for citizens so they may need to
look elsewhere. While other resources may not have been
originally developed with citizens and patients
in mind they all provide ways that can make it easier for them
to find and use evidence. In this module we’ll cover the Cochrane
database for citizen’s and patient’s questions
about ‘my health’, for example personal health decisions. We’ll cover Health Evidence which is for citizens and patients that have
questions about ‘our health’, for example improving the health of
populations or groups. And we’ll also cover Health Systems
Evidence which answer questions about ‘our system’,
for example ‘How do we strengthen our
Health System and get the right programs and services to
those who need the most?’. All of these sources focus on systematic
reviews not single studies and provide ways
that help make it easier to identify the relevant research
evidence that can be acted on. Now turning to the first source that I
mentioned, the Cochrane library. When citizens and patients want answers to
questions about their own individual health the Cochrane library has established a one
stop shop for evidence summaries which
may be useful to citizens. Cochrane only produces high quality reviews meaning that citizens and patients can feel
confident getting their evidence from this
resource. There are ways to browse specifically by the
health topics that are of interest to you. It helps you to identify quickly the relevant
evidence that you may be interested in. Individuals can also conduct more specific
searches using keywords and they can filter their searches by new
evidence. Each evidence summary starts with a
declarative title which helps to highlight the
messages that are most actionable for
citizens and patients. There are also other ways that evidence
summaries make it easier for citizens and
patients to digest this information. For example Cochrane sometimes adds
podcasts which summarizes the main
messages from the systematic review
underpinning the evidence summary. Moving on from individual questions about my
health citizens and patients may also answers to
question about the health of their
communities, for example how to improve the health of the
group the population. Health Evidence was established as a one
stop shop and includes a high quality
evidence summaries of studies that answer these
types of questions. Searches can be filtered by health topics to
quickly look for relevant evidence and evidence summaries are provided to
help highlight key messages that are
actionable. Quality ratings are provided to help citizens
and patients determine how trustworthy the
messages from the reviews are. More specific searches can be conducted
using keywords and filters can be combined with these
keywords to find new evidence. Evidence alerts are also provided for citizens
who want to sign up and get new evidence in their inbox each
month. The type of evidence you can find on Health
Evidence addresses questions such as ‘how does food pricing affect the dietary
behaviors of certain populations?’. This may also be relevant for people trying to
improve the situation in terms of diabetes prevalence in a
population. In addition to answering questions about
individual health and the health of populations in communities
people might also want to know how to better
strengthened their system and this is when you would go to Health
Systems Evidence. Health Systems Evidence contains research
evidence about how to strengthen or reform Health
Systems to get the right programs and
services to those who need them. Searches can also be filtered by health topics
to quickly look for relevant evidence. Links to actionable evidence summaries are provided and quality ratings can help citizens and
patients determine how trustworthy the
messages from these reviews are. As with the other resources more specific
searches can be done using keywords and the results can be filtered by relevance to
their searches and by most recent evidence. As with Health Evidence there’s an option for
a monthly evidence service where citizens and patients can subscribe to
a search that they like to receive a prompt each month with the
newest evidence on the topics they are
interested in. The types of resources contained in Health
Systems Evidence could include the resource we’re showing to
you here which is about how to make the
most of nurses in addressing issues specific to diabetes.

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