Unlocking the value of Cochrane reviews for general practitioners

Spurling, Geoffrey; Mitchell, Ben; van Driel, Mieke
June 2018
Australian Journal of General Practice;Jun2018, Vol. 47 Issue 6, p333
Academic Journal
Background Cochrane reviews are difficult to construct and may be difficult to read, but they produce trusted, high-quality research responses to common clinical questions. Objective The objective of this article is to help clinicians navigate the Cochrane Library and Cochrane reviews. Using a common clinical scenario, we illustrate how to find the information required to guide evidence-based decision making with patients. Discussion Clinicians looking for answers to clinical questions often turn first to guidelines. However, these may not provide enough background to balance the pros and cons of a treatment. Cochrane reviews often inform guidelines and contain more in-depth clinical information for shared decision making. The introduction of Summary of Findings (SoF) tables has made the studies in Cochrane reviews more accessible. In this paper, we discuss how to read and interpret these SoF tables. Additional resources, such as journal summaries and podcasts, have also improved the accessibility of Cochrane review findings.


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