This is the fourth in a series of Cochrane Blog posts about prioritization work by Cochrane Review Groups. You can read more about the project and the full series of blog post on the project page.
Until recently Cochrane Heart worked mainly with expert clinicians in an internal prioritization activity. For example, between May and August 2016 the group assessed and prioritized their portfolio of reviews on atrial fibrillation with the help of subject experts in their editorial team. The final outcome of this exercise was the identification of three priority reviews, a number of reviews in need of an update, two potential new topics and a number of titles that are no longer relevant and will therefore not be pursued further. An important goal of this project was to inform decision making in relation to Cochrane’s new Updating Classification System. In addition the group has implemented stringent acceptance criteria (e.g. reviews that inform guidelines or underpin primary research) so all new reviews can be considered ‘priority’ by default regardless of the topic area.
To expand on this work the Group has embarked on a prioritization exercise focussing mainly on consumer needs, with the aim of helping the group decide on new topics for future reviews and to make existing reviews more relevant by identifying patient-relevant outcomes that might have been missed. This investigation of consumer questions on the prevention and treatment of heart problems was new territory for the Group, so after some brainstorming at the editorial base they decided that World Heart Day, organized by the World Heart Federation (WHF), would be a great point to launch their Power your life - Ask questions campaign. The Cochrane Heart deputy Co-ordinating Editor, Pablo Perel, has a long-standing association with the WHF, who were very receptive to the idea. They allowed the Group to use World Heart Day branding to help promote the survey. A key element is that it is jargon-free. There is some brief guidance on how to frame a question but ultimately the survey allows patients and carers to pose their own questions about treating and preventing heart problems. The group is disseminating the survey via their website and on Twitter. It has also been mentioned in National Institute for Health Research (NIHR, UK) Research, the the British Heart Foundation, the World Heart Federation and Farr London twitter feeds. The WHF has agreed to include information about the campaign in their members’ newsletter.
Now that World Heart Day has passed, the survey has been re-branded slightly to ‘Your heart – Your questions’ and will remain open until the end of 2016. The respondents will be informed of the results via email, to foster a sense of ownership for participants. The group is keen to distribute the survey as widely as possible, so please feel free to send it out via your consumer networks!
For any questions or comments about this blog series or if you’d like to tell us about your group’s prioritization work please contact Ruth Foxlee at the Cochrane Editorial Unit – firstname.lastname@example.org
Ruth Foxlee, Information Specialist, Cochrane Editorial Unit
Maria Gerardi, Administrative Assistant, Cochrane Editorial Unit