Newly Released! A Women's Guide for Understanding Evidence about Health and Health Care

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From the National Coordinating Group on Healthcare Reform and Women

Questions women should ask about health care evidence:

About truth and values:
Who carries out, finds and benefits from the research?

About defining the research problem:
What is the “problem?” How could it be defined differently?

About what counts:
Do we use numbers or stories? Which numbers? Whose stories? Do we ask why and how? Or simply how much? What information is missing?

About authority and credibility:
Who are the “experts” in the research?

Does evidence really matter?
How does evidence inform health care decisions and health policy? Are there other factors at work?

Turn on your TV, open the newspaper. Every day, women are bombarded with evidence—statistics, graphs, tables and reports. When it comes to health and health care reform, women face a blizzard of evidence that threatens to blind us rather than guide us.

There is new evidence on HRT, evidence on waiting lists, evidence on genetically modified foods, and evidence on government spending on health care.

All of this evidence is supposed to inform us and help us decide what action to take or not take. But the evidence often seems contradictory or seems to deny our own experiences.

What counts as evidence? Where does it come from? How can women judge the evidence they see?

In this guide we want to provide women with tools to assess arguments and evidence about women, health and health care reforms. Our aim is to help women make their own informed decisions.

A Women’s Guide for Understanding Evidence about Health and Health Care from the National Coordinating Group on Health Care Reform and Women is available for download at:
www.cewh-cesf.ca/PDF/health_reform/evidenceEN.pdf

To order free hard copies of the guide, contact: cwhn@cwhn.ca

The National Coordinating Group on Health Care Reform and Women
A part of the Women’s Health Contribution Program from the Bureau of Women’s Health and Gender Analysis, Health Canada