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Table 1 Example: Identifying potentially important resource consequences for a national programme of outreach visits to improve prescribing for hypertension

From: SUPPORT Tools for evidence-informed health Policymaking (STP) 12: Finding and using research evidence about resource use and costs

Systematic reviews have found that educational outreach visits (i.e. personal visits to healthcare professionals in their own settings by trained outreach visitors) have relatively consistent and small, but potentially worthwhile, effects on prescribing [25]. In a randomised trial in Norway, these visits were found to increase the use of thiazides, in adherence with clinical practice guidelines, from 11% to 17% among patients with newly diagnosed hypertension [26]. To determine whether this improvement was worthwhile (in relation to the cost of a national outreach programme), the following uses of resources were considered [27]:  
• Development of software (used to audit medical records and provide feedback to physicians)  
• Training outreach visitors (pharmacists)  
• Printed materials  
• Travel for the pharmacists doing the outreach visits  
• Pharmacists' time  
• Administrative time (e.g. making appointments for the outreach visits)  
• Physicians' time (for the outreach visits)  
• Technical support  
• Drug expenditure  
• Patient visits  
• Laboratory tests