The Cochrane Library
What is it:An electronic database summarizing the evidence for EFFICACY/EFFECTIVENESS of interventions in healthcare. It contains a large series of Review Group modules (52) according to diseases/conditions containing systematic refviews of interventions (3,464 reviews on the database on April 24, 2008). It is published on CD ROMs and online four times per year.
What information does it give?A listing of all controlled trials of the intervention of interest; a meta-analysis producing the beset estimate available of benefits and adverse effects; a qualitative description of the quality of the evidence.
Theoretical basis:Statistical synthesis and epidemiology.
Who uses it and at what level:The Reviews are used by health practitioners, health policy-makers, and also the general public; the Reviews are provided in language accessible to non-health professionals so they can use the information to make decisions about their own health. Rating; Govt.; health professionals district planners;international, national, local NGOs ;businesses.
Equity gauge components...
Is needs assessment part of the tool:Consumers review the scope of the reviews to ensure areas of importance to consumers are included. Rating: 1
What is the required capacity:Available in paper format and on CDROM. Summaries available on the Web.
Evidence of applications in other cultures:
Mainly industrialized countries but also South Africa, Brazil, China, Philippines and Thailand.
What is the added value?Cochrane protocols (information about the Collaboration's research in progress) are made available to the public for comment and review.
The Collaboration has also created a system to include new evidence prospectively.
At a global level, the Collaboration has begun to explore the development of strategic alliances with organizations such as the World Bank, with industry, and with international professional and consumer organizations (insert reference).
Is equity addressed in terms of PROGRESS?...
What are the limitations:
Many estimates are of efficacy in ideal situations, so effectiveness in a community may well be less if compliance poor.
Publication bias can be a limitation in regard to which randomized control trials are included in the review.
Only limited numbers of less rigorous non-controlled studies included.
What are the limitations in terms of equity?...
Last updated: April 24, 2008