Cochrane reviews are systematic summaries of evidence, particularly of evidence of the effects of healthcare interventions (“treatments”). They are intended to help people make practical decisions. For a review to be called a ‘Cochrane review’ it must be in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. The specific methods used in a Cochrane review are described in the text of the review. Cochrane reviews adhere to a structured format that is described in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions.
For over 20 years the Cochrane Collaboration has helped to transform the way health decisions are made. We prepare, update and disseminate systematic reviews to help people make informed choices. Systematic reviews summarize the best available research addressing a clear question, using systematic and explicit methods to identify, select, and critically appraise relevant studies, and to collect and analyze data from them. Cochrane is a global independent network of researchers, professionals, patients, carers, and people interested in health. Contributors – 40,000 from more than 130 countries – work together to produce credible health information to support informed decision-making.
The Cochrane Collaboration is the only organization in the world committed to preparing, maintaining and disseminating systematic reviews. However, many Cochrane reviews are not up-to-date and Cochrane is looking for ways to manage this challenge [Oxman 2013]. At the same time, it is continually working to improve the quality of Cochrane reviews and to make them more accessible and useful to people making decisions.