Research Priority Setting
Setting priorities for Cochrane Reviews on consumer and communication topics
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.'
- To identify priority topics for systematic reviews of interventions for health communication and participation, as judged by Australian and international stakeholders.
- To identify the top five Australian priorities for new Cochrane Reviews within the scope of the Cochrane Consumers and Communication Group.
This project was conducted between March 2015 and September 2016. It involved three main stages:
- Online survey (151 stakeholders, meaning consumers, carers, health professionals, policy makers and researchers, took part)
- Full day workshop (28 stakeholders took part)
- 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:
- 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
- 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
- Improving future doctors’ communication skills
Cochrane Review title: Interventions for improving medical students’ communication skills in doctor-patient consultations
- Consumer engagement strategies
Cochrane Review title: Methods of consumer involvement in developing healthcare policy and research, clinical practice guidelines and patient information material
- 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.
We now have author teams actively working on all our priority Cochrane Reviews. These 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. You can follow the progress of the priority reviews at our Cochrane Consumers and Communication Group priority reviews page.
- 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
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
Publications and resources
Synnot A, Bragge P, Lowe D, et al. 2018 Research priorities in health communication and participation: international survey of consumers and other stakeholders. BMJ Open 8:e019481 (Open access)
Synnot A. 2016. Stakeholder priorities for research in health communication and participation: Findings from the Cochrane Consumers and Communication priority setting project, Centre for Health Communication and Participation, La Trobe University, Melbourne.
Cochrane Community Blogpost: Cochrane Consumers and Communication Group: A wide-ranging consultation process, Nov 2016
Workshop materials from ‘Practical approaches to undertaking research priority setting in health’, delivered with colleagues from the University of Sydney at the Australasian Cochrane Symposium, Melbourne, November 2015. Including:
- our slides [PDF 554KB]
- workshop materials [PDF 648KB] - including a priority setting appraisal framework we developed for the workshop
- an additional useful links document [PDF 57KB]
For any queries please contact Annie Synnot at email@example.com or +61 3 9479 1086.