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Journal of the Academy of Hospital Administration

Website of Health Education and Research Foundation: Informed Health Online

Author(s): Surfed and Reviewed by: Rajiv Kumar Jain*

Vol. 15, No. 2 (2003-07 - 2003-12)

Health Research and Education Foundation Ltd, a health promotion charity based in Melbourne, Australia has been running this unique website for some time now. The Foundation is based on these principles:

  1. Good health care information should be available free, in major community languages;
  2. Evidence on the effects of health care is essential for informed self-care and professional health care;
  3. Communities have a right of access to information that is essential to improving and maintaining their health and wellbeing; and
  4. Health professionals have a right of access to information that is essential to offering the best advice and care.

The Foundation aims to provide information and resource tools that enable people to keep up-to-date with reliable, evidence-based information. The Foundation promotes research literacy, and individual and community use of high quality research. A key goal is to promote the accessibility of health information from the Cochrane Collaboration, and based on Cochrane reviews and other reliable research on the effects of health care. The Foundation is working with translation partners to identify resources to assist in the translation of Informed Health Online into major community languages.

The Managing Editor of Informed Health Online is Hilda Bastian. The Chairman of the Foundation's Board is Professor Chris Del Mar from the University of Queensland. Professor Del Mar is also Coordinating Editor of the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group. Other Board members are Professor Kay Dickersin (Director of the US Cochrane Center, Brown University), Davina Ghersi (Cochrane Breast Cancer Group, University of Sydney) and Associate Professor Elizabeth Waters (Cochrane Health Promotion and Public Health Field, University of Melbourne). (Company secretary: Robert Wright, solicitor, Melbourne.)

The Cochrane Collaboration is an international not-for-profit organisation that aims to help people make informed decisions about health care, by reviewing and promoting the best available evidence on the effects of interventions and treatments. It is a charity registered in the United Kingdom. Its governing body is the Steering Group, with a secretariat based in Oxford in the United Kingdom.

The Collaboration also aims to affect the future research agenda in health, by identifying where enough research has been done, and where more is needed. The Cochrane Collaboration was established in 1993 at the first Cochrane Colloquium.

The home page is colourful well organised, attractive, and informative for all kind of surfers. It has sections on "What's New Digest", "Health A to Z", "Reviews", "Hot Topics", "Media Room" links and Guides for Reliable information, Libraries and Journals Electronic Databases and Full Text research Articles, "Joining a Trial" "Dictionaries" "cartoons" and "Personal views". Besides these there are a number of other sections.

Few examples of the kind of topics on which authentic evidence based information is available are:

  1. The science and controversy of analyzing groups of trials about antibiotics in intensive care,
  2. Review on effect of dosage forms on compliance of Blood pressure medication
  3. Complementary Therapies for Quitting Smoking,
  4. Nicotine Replacement and Drug Options for Quitting Smoking and
  5. Self-help,Exercise and Support for Quitting Smoking.

Besides these, other areas include: Arthritis, Asthma, Back pain, cancer Child health, Diabetes, infertility, Menstruation and Menstrual problems, respiratory infections, surgery etc.

The web designers have made the navigation easy by giving facilities of search by health topic, site map browse and search functions.

Overall a website which attracts and keeps you engrossed for long. It also makes you come back again and again.

* Deputy Chief Medical Director, Indian Railways Medical Service, New Delhi,
Address for Correspondence: 157/4 Railway Officers Flats, Railway Colony, Basant Lane New Delhi -110055,
E-mail: [email protected].

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