In 2011 George Mason University opened the Cochrane Collaboration College for Policy. Thanks to the efforts of Professor Catherine Gallagher (Department of Criminology, Law, and Society) who was highly connected to Cochrane and its sister organization, the Campbell Collaboration, we were able to initiate a program that would advantage the United States by bringing the gigantic Cochrane Library of research results to apply to health policy issues. Supported by both the Provost’s Office and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, our local organization could provide solutions to thorny problems through the application of much prior research that conformed to the high standards of the Cochrane Collaboration. In short, before "Big Data" had become a household word, Cochrane@Mason was working in this arena.
Currently, after two years of the development, the local Cochrane unit has already the capacity to provide some of the benefits of this health knowledge to the public. It seeks to educate Americans to the highest standards of proper diagnosis and treatment as well as the qualities of thousands of health care organizations.
Now, the focus is turning to the needs of hospitals and health care providers. The project plans to partner and consult with such bodies to provide health protocols, plans for the use of resources, and other matters that can facilitate better care and service to the public. The ability to draw on the techniques and completed studies of the international participants of Cochrane guarantee a high rigor and high quality of analysis and recommendations for practice. We will seek both to encourage best practices and contain costs without sacrificing the former. Moreover, and this is also vital to spread widely the benefits of health research, we are using the efforts of others and our own techniques to do these studies rapidly and efficiently. In sum, we can inform practice and delivery with studies that relay current research and cost-conscious delivery in a timely, reasonably priced way. We are proceeding down the path of using research to improve the health and well being of Americans.