Healthcare consumers can be defined as anyone who is affected by a health condition. This will obviously include patients, but also carers, friends and family - in fact anyone who is entitled to use a health-related service, but who is generally not a health professional.  

Consumer advocates are also very important to Cochrane, and can be defined as those who are actively involved with other consumers and able to represent the perspectives and concerns of a broader group of people affected by a particular health condition.

The learning resources accessible from this section of the Cochrane Training website will help get you started if you are an individual healthcare consumer, a consumer advocate, or an interested newcomer to the world of research, and would like to find out more about the important work of the organisation, and how you could contribute to it.

Learning about research and systematic reviews

  • Making sense of research - a gentle introduction to the real research behind the headlines
  • Clinical trials - find out about primary research, and how to tell which type of trials are fairest tests of treatments. 
  • Systematic reviews - learn about Cochrane systematic reviews and how they help people make informed decisions about healthcare.  

Ways of contributing to Cochrane

  • Participate in reviews - find out how you can get involved and contribute to the quality of Cochrane reviews using your experience as a healthcare consumer 
  • Participate in ALOIS - a project which is exploring innovative ways to engage and involve consumers and laypeople in the work of Cochrane 
  • Cochrane Consumer Network - providing support and networking opportunities for existing and potential consumer contributors to the organisation

About Cochrane and The Cochrane Library

  • Cochrane Summaries - award-winning website primarily for anyone needing succinct and trustworthy information to help with healthcare decision-making
  • Cochrane - introductory videos about the history and the work of the organisation

More information and support, as well as a network of fellow consumers interested in evidence-informed health care and systematic reviews, are available from the Cochrane Consumer Network (CCNet).

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