Research Priority Setting

Setting priorities for Cochrane Reviews on consumer and communication topics

Background

In March 2015, Cochrane Consumers and Communication (based in the Centre for Health Communication and Participation) started a wide-ranging consultation process. We wanted to choose five new topics for our Cochrane Reviews, and to make sure they would be as useful as possible to the people who need to use, or might be affected by our research: health policy makers, health professionals, researchers, consumers and carers, and the wider community. So we asked representatives from all these areas to share their priorities.

Defining 'health communication and participation'

The scope of the Cochrane Consumers and Communication Group includes health communication and participation research.  We define this as:

'Activities that help patients, consumers and carers to be knowledgeable about their health and to participate in their health in different ways. This includes being able to express their views and beliefs, make informed choices, and to access high quality health information and health services.'

Aims

1. To identify priority topics for systematic reviews of interventions for health communication and participation, as judged by Australian and international stakeholders.

2. To identify the top five Australian priorities for new Cochrane Reviews within the scope of the Cochrane Consumers and Communication Group.

Methods

This project was conducted between March 2015 and September 2016. It involved three main stages:

  1. Online survey (151 stakeholders, meaning consumers, carers, health professionals, policy makers and researchers, took part)
  2. Full day workshop (28 stakeholders took part)
  3. Evidence mapping against our Cochrane topic list

We asked people to share their ideas for research in this area, and then worked together to identify the top research priorities.

Once the five priority Cochrane Review topics were selected, we worked together with our steering group, and a several stakeholders to co-produce the final report and dissemination strategy.

We were thrilled with the response and enthusiasm of so many people contributing their ideas to this project.

For more about the methods used in this project, take a look at our final report.

Top five priority Cochrane Reviews

The following Cochrane Review topics were selected for our first round of priority topics:

  1. Improving communication about end of life care
    Cochrane Review title: Interventions for communication about end of life care among health professionals and patients and their families or carers

  2. Patient and family involvement in patient safety
    Cochrane Review title: Interventions to increase patient and family involvement in escalation of care for acute life threatening illness

  3. Improving future doctors’ communication skills
    Cochrane Review title: Interventions for improving medical students’ communication skills in doctor-patient consultations

  4. Consumer engagement strategies
    Cochrane Review title: Methods of consumer involvement in developing healthcare policy and research, clinical practice guidelines and patient information material

  5. Promoting patient-centred care
    Cochrane Review title: Interventions to promote patient-centred care approach in clinical consultations

For more information the priority Cochrane Review topics, and the teams who are working on the reviews, take a look at our final report.

Learn more

Our final report tells the story of how we undertook the project and what we learnt. You can also hear from the priority review author teams and the people who took part in the project.

Next steps

As of September 2016, we have author teams assembled or actively working on all our priority Cochrane Reviews. All author teams are actively involving consumers and/or other stakeholders (such as health professionals, medical students or policymakers) as co-authors, partners or advisors in the review process. We hope the first of the reviews will be published towards the end of 2017.

We will also work towards another round of priority Cochrane Reviews, to commence in 2017. We will develop these topics based on some of the other suggested priorities.

Project team

  • Dr Sophie Hill, Senior Research Fellow and Coordinating Editor of the Cochrane Consumers and Communication Review Group
  • Annie Synnot, Research Fellow and Editor, Cochrane Consumers and Communication Review Group
  • Molly O'Sullivan, La Trobe University post-graduate student
  • Jack Nunn, Research Officer, Centre for Health Communication and Participation, La Trobe University
  • Dianne Lowe, PhD Candidate and Research Officer, Centre for Health Communication and Participation, La Trobe University

Steering group

The steering group for the project involved consumer representatives, clinicians, health service managers, policy makers, researchers and funders. Specific members included:

  • Noni Bourke, Director of Quality and Risk, Bass Coast Health (formerly Peninsula Health)
  • Peter Bragge, Senior Research Fellow, BehaviourWorks Australia, Monash Sustainability Institute, Monash University
  • Karen Carey, Chair, Community and Consumer Advisory Group, NHMRC
  • Davina Ghersi, Principal Research Scientist, NHMRC
  • Sophie Hill, Coordinating Editor, Cochrane Consumers and Communication Review Group, La Trobe University
  • Lidia Horvat, Senior Policy Officer, Victorian Department of Health and Human Services
  • Debra Kay, consumer health representative
  • Natasha Lannin, Occupational Therapist and Associate Professor, Alfred Health/La Trobe University
  • Steve McDonald, Co-director, Cochrane Australia
  • Sandy Oliver, Professor of Public Policy, University College London
  • Molly O'Sullivan, La Trobe University post-graduate student
  • Naomi Poole, Program Manager, Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare
  • Annie Synnot, Research Fellow and Editor, Cochrane Consumers and Communication Review Group, La Trobe University
  • Danny Vadasz, CEO, Health Issues Centre

Contact us

For any queries please contact Annie Synnot at a.synnot@latrobe.edu.au or +61 3 9479 1086.