Empowering Australian patients through access to better health decisions

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Summary media release information

21 August 2012
NHMRC Media Release
Contact for further information: 
David Cooper: 0422 008 512 or 02 6217 9121

Australian patients and their health care practitioners will benefit from ongoing access to The Cochrane Library, an online resource that features over 5000 published systematic reviews of evidence for health care interventions; ranging from surgical procedures and drugs to behavioural therapies and preventive care. Cochrane reviews provide independent high-quality evidence to aid in health care decision making.

The Australian Government, through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), has renewed funding for Australia’s national licence to the Library. This means every Australian will continue to be able to access reliable information about what works and what does not.

Australians are the highest per capita users of the Library in the world. In 2011 Australians viewed 708,000 Cochrane abstracts online and downloaded 501,642 full reviews. The three most popular reviews in Australia were models of care for childbearing women, preventing falls in older people living in the community, and zinc for the common cold. The most popular review internationally looked at interventions for preventing obesity in children.

NHMRC CEO Professor Warwick Anderson said that NHMRC is committed to a health literate society where all Australians benefit from access to the latest health and medical research.

“Access to high quality research evidence is being increased through support of The Cochrane Library and NHMRC’s open access policy on the research it funds. Ongoing promotion of research findings will ensure translation into clinical practice.”

Ongoing support for The Cochrane Library is recognition of the vital role systematic reviews play in informing policy and practice.

“Continuing to provide access to the Library will ensure Australia remains a significant contributor to the Cochrane Collaboration, and the leading user of the best available research evidence,” Professor Anderson said.

The renewal of The Cochrane Library licence marks the 10th anniversary of the announcement of the original licence at the Cochrane Colloquium held in Melbourne in 2002.

For media inquiries, contact David Cooper on 0422 008 512. 

Background on The Cochrane Collaboration

The Cochrane Collaboration is an international network of more than 28,000 people from over 100 countries. It is a global, non-government organisation whose members work together to help healthcare providers, policy-makers, patients, their advocates and carers, make well-informed decisions about health care, by preparing, updating, and promoting the accessibility of Cochrane systematic reviews. The NHMRC is joined in its financial support for the collaboration by research institutions such as the United Kingdom’s National Institute of Health Research, the Canadian Institute of Health Research, the Indian Council of Medical Research and the New Zealand Ministry of Health (through the New Zealand Guidelines Group).

The main product of the Cochrane Collaboration is the Cochrane Library. It consists of a regularly updated collection of evidence-based databases, including over 5000 Cochrane reviews published in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. These reviews explore the evidence for and against the effectiveness and appropriateness of treatments (medications, surgery, education, etc) in specific circumstances.

The Collaboration has also developed the largest collection of reports of controlled trials in the world, called the Central Register of Controlled Trials which is published as part of the Library.

Australasian Cochrane Centre

The Australasian Cochrane Centre co-ordinates activities of the Cochrane Collaboration in Australia and the wider region, principally by providing training and support to authors of Cochrane reviews, working with policy makers, advocating on behalf of the Collaboration regionally and promoting the use and uptake of The Cochrane Library. The Centre works in partnership with its branches in Korea, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand.

Further information on The Cochrane Library is on the Cochrane Library website.