Updated press release to October 2004 Cochrane Review

December 06, 2004

The Cochrane Collaboration wishes to report that the review 'Interactive Health Communication Applications for people with chronic disease' (1) has been found to contain errors. The review originally determined that, among other findings, chronically ill people using interactive programmes had worse clinical outcomes than those who did not. Regrettably, errors in data analysis meant that these outcomes were reported incorrectly. The authors are currently re-analysing their data and will be resubmitting their results to The Cochrane Library (2) in the future. It is expected that the revised results will be published in April 2005.

Interactive Health Communication Applications (IHCAs) are computer-based interactive programmes for patients that combine health information with at least one mode of support - social support, decision support or behavioural change support. IHCAs are designed to provide people with chronic disease with the opportunity to become better informed about their disease and the various treatment options available.

The Cochrane Collaboration supports high standards of quality control and welcomes comments on and corrections to any reviews published in The Cochrane Library. Compared with traditional paper journal publishing, the Collaboration's open and transparent process ensures that all Cochrane reviews are available for real-time correction, providing experts and healthcare consumers alike with the opportunity to give their input. Crucially, this process also allows researchers and others to inform review authors of previously unreported or unrecognised trial results, allowing them to improve the quality of reviews as they are periodically updated over time. The Cochrane Collaboration regrets that this particular review was found to contain inaccuracies, apologises unreservedly, has acted swiftly to mitigate both this error (which arose from individual error and not systemic failures) and the likelihood of it being repeated, and undertakes to ensure that the corrected results are published as soon as possible.
Notes to the Editor:

1. Murray et al: Interactive Health Communication Applications for people with chronic disease (Issue 4, 2004, The Cochrane Library).

2. The Cochrane Library contains high quality healthcare information, including Systematic Reviews from The Cochrane Collaboration. These reviews bring together research on the effects of health care and are considered the gold standard for determining the relative effectiveness of different interventions. The Cochrane Collaboration (www.cochrane.org) is a UK registered international charity and the world's leading producer of systematic reviews. It has been demonstrated that Cochrane Systematic Reviews are of comparable or better quality and are updated more often than the reviews published in print journalsª.

3. In October 2004, The Cochrane Library was launched with a new interface through Wiley InterScience and can be accessed at http://www.thecochranelibrary.com. Guest users may access abstracts of all reviews in the database, and members of the media may request full access to the contents of the Library.

4. A number of countries and states have provisions by which some or all of their residents are able to access The Cochrane Library for free. These include: Australia, Denmark, England, Finland, Ireland, Norway, South Africa, The Canadian Province of Saskatchewan, and the US State of Wyoming.

5. There are also several programmes, such as the Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative (HINARI) that provide free or low-cost access in developing countries.

ªJadad AR, Cook DJ, Jones A, Klassen TP, Tugwell P, Moher M, et al. Methodology and reports of systematic reviews and meta-analyses: a comparison of Cochrane reviews with articles published in paper-based journal. JAMA 1998;280:278-80.


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