Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Cochrane’s Project Transform: closing the gap between research findings and healthcare practice

Led by staff at Cochrane Australia, a host of initiatives by the Project Transform team will help close the gap between evidence and practice with the launch of new systematic review production process.

Cochrane is an independent not-for-profit organisation made up of 37,000 contributors from 130 countries — it produces trusted health information in the form of systematic reviews of research and is considered a leading contributor to systematic review and guideline development in Australia.

Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews of primary research in human health care and health policy. They are internationally recognised because they identify, select, critically appraise, and synthesise the results of all existing studies of a given question. Cochrane Reviews are considered the highest level of evidence for decision-makers.

However these reviews are time and resource-intensive, with most systematic reviews taking more than two years to complete. This slows the translation of research findings into health policy, clinical practice guidelines and ultimately health practice.

This has inspired the Project Transform team to implement four transformative new projects: the Evidence Pipeline; Cochrane Crowd; Task Exchange; and Production Models. Each project aims to improve the way people, processes and technologies come together to produce Cochrane content.

With more and more health research being published every day, the growing challenge in this field has become identifying the research needed to produce high-quality up-to-date health evidence. Evidence Pipeline machine learning platform and Cochrane Crowd’s citizen scientists are working together to identify and classify reports of trials as they are published.

“Our new Cochrane Crowd online platform will enable anyone to get involved with Cochrane and help identify the evidence we need to make informed healthcare decisions. There are currently two tasks available (identifying randomised controlled trials and diagnostic test assessments), suitable for a whole range of different backgrounds, expertise and skill,” says Dr Elliott.

TaskExchange is a software platform that connects people who need help with their reviews with people who have the time and expertise to help. TaskExchange is now open access, so anyone who would like to contribute to the work of Cochrane can sign up and do tasks to help produce Cochrane reviews.

For more information about Project Transform, watch this short video, visit the project website or view this infographic highlighting project achievements at the halfway mark of the landmark project.

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