Swiss German television reports on the Cochrane Library
A recently acquired Swiss national licence offers 8.2 million residents in Switzerland free access to the Cochrane Library’s collection of healthcare databases until 2020, including gold-standard Cochrane Systematic Reviews. Puls, a weekly health programme on SRF1, reviewed the Cochrane Library website with a group of laypeople to see how it could be used.
The article and video suggest that lay people search for specific medical terms to find relevant studies and use the German version of the website, Cochrane Kompakt, to help them navigate the information. Cochrane Kompakt includes German translations of many Plain Language Summaries, with new content added every week. The co-moderating GP on the show commented that he would provide patients with translated Plain Language Summaries as an information resource, while using the full version of the reviews himself for background.
The English translation of the SRF article is as follows.
Cochrane Library – Knowledge for those who want to know
Puls, a weekly health programme broadcast on Swiss German television, highlights the Cochrane Library and its use to the general public
The patient as expert of his own disease
Answers to medical questions are nowadays easily found on Internet. Patients do not rely on information obtained from health professionals only, but also look for information themselves. The Cochrane Library offers a secure source. Until recently this database was mainly used by health professionals. Nowadays it also offers guidance to lay people.
The Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences bought a national provision to the Cochrane Library. This ensures free access to all Swiss citizens from January 2016 onwards. The license, which was bought jointly with the Federal Office of Public Health and University Libraries, will be valid for 5 years to start with, until 2020.
German for lay people
When observing lay people using the Cochrane Library, it becomes clear that it needs practice to use the database efficiently. The more concrete the question asked, the easier to find a relevant study. English knowledge is essential though. The plain language summaries, offered in various languages for lay people, are not easy to read and still contain medical terminology.
This is the reason that Cochrane Switzerland, Cochrane Germany, and Cochrane Austria jointly developed ‘Cochrane Kompakt’. The original (English) plain language summaries are translated into easily understandable German. This additional database is meant to grow continuously in the future.