Part 5: Improving your healthcare

Download Part 5: Chapters 12 to 14

Chapter 12: Finding the best evidence

Knowledge is not power. Getting the right information and learning how to apply it to your life is power. (Susan Powter, Stop the Insanity)

Now that you have a better understanding of the value and limitations of different types of evidence, this chapter gives some practical tips for how to find and access the best evidence, whether from your practitioner, the Cochrane Library, the internet, organisations, universities, libraries or companies.

Chapter 13: Doing your bit

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. (Margaret Mead)

Many people expect, quite rightly, to be involved in making decisions about their health care. Sharing the power also means sharing the responsibility. Consumers also have an important role to play in improving the quality of health care and information. You can lobby for more responsible information, take part in trials and help to create positive changes by becoming better informed.

Chapter 14: How to apply the evidence to you and your situation

This chapter summarises our advice for improving the quality of your health decisions and health care. Remember:

  • Think probabilistically
  • Beware anecdotes
  • Ask for evidence about outcomes that matter
  • It is your right to be informed
  • Be sceptical
  • Newer is not necessarily better
  • Many health problems get better on their own
  • The power of the placebo

And don’t forget the five critical questions

  1. What will happen if I wait and watch?
  2. What are my test or treatment options?
  3. What are the benefits and harms of these options?
  4. How do the benefits and harms weigh up for me?
  5. Do I have enough information to make a choice?