Background: Despite the vast amount of research on the effects of treatments in health care, many uncertainties remain. The James Lind Alliance (JLA) (www.lindalliance.org) has been established to bring patients and clinicians together in 'Working Partnerships' to identify and prioritise the most important unanswered questions. This information will help ensure that those who fund health research are aware of what matters to patients and clinicians.
Objectives: Specifically, the JLA wishes to facilitate identification of research priorities shared by patients and clinicians, hence its strapline - 'tackling treatment uncertainties together'.
Description/Purpose: The JLA regards Cochrane entities as important partners in pursuing its objective, and is already building on the work done by the Cochrane Review Groups, and it is not difficult to see synergies between the JLA and Cochrane groups in identifying and addressing treatment uncertainties. These include:
- The Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments (known as DUETs) (www.duets.nhs.uk) is being populated, in part, by uncertainties identified through systematic reviews. JLA Working Partnerships will need to identify relevant uncertainties and it seems sensible for relevant Cochrane Review Groups to become part of those Working Partnerships;
- Specifically, Cochrane Review Groups can contribute lists of uncertainties, identified through their systematic reviews;
- Cochrane Review Groups could also take part in the priority setting process of the identified uncertainties within the JLA Working Partnerships;
- Cochrane Review Groups could also help to find out which treatment outcomes patients and clinicians think research should address;
- There are also opportunities for Cochrane Review Groups to improve the content of the 'Recommendations for research' sections at the end of Cochrane reviews.