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Potential Impact

The impact of the study could be explored on various levels. Firstly, the theoretical exploitation of the behavior of all health actors that are involved in the provision and consumption of non-prescribed and prescribed medicines. It has been creatively achieved by the implementation of two conceptual frameworks that offered a very analytical description of the determinants of consuming and providing behaviour of medicines of the GPs, PHs, PATs and CLs. Analytical reports with various categories of factors have been delivered to the participating countries for a potential and future implementation of this theory-based evidence into their local settings. Secondly, certain pilot interventions have been tested in local settings and a proposed intervention frame has been evaluated as feasible, relevant and practical in the busy health care environment. The study further provides an operationalized structure to define and evaluate interventions targeting similar behaviours in health professions and other disciplines. It introduces common evaluation standards and tools translated in multiple European languages, appropriate in measuring the effectiveness of current interventions and their applicability in other settings. Researchers now, have at their hands an educational intervention tool with relevant methodologies and instruments for a future large scale implementation, to alter the existing situation at the regional and national level and reducing the cost of pharmaceutical expenditures due to non radical decisions of all groups of health actors. Thirdly, the prepared and disseminated set of recommendations and proposed practical guidelinesprepared from this project could have an important impact on policy makers, health actors, stakeholders, researchers and academicians.  Most importantly, the current study provides evidence to policy makers on future policy actions targeting physicians’ skills and prescribing behaviour in primary health care. It can additionally provide guidance on how to manage physicians’ behavioural change and how to prevent irrational prescribing of medicines at primary care settings, through borrowing theoretical constructs from behavioural sciences. These constructs could be fertilized in undergraduate, postgraduate and continuous medical education to improve medical practice. This study is further expected to enable in the long run multi-country, multi-stakeholder consultations in medicine provision and consumption. Lastly, this collaborative effort combined capacity building from academic departments, colleges of GPs and primary care networks by using a theory guided approach for observational studies and designed and implemented an intervention and concluded with a list of an interesting compilation of recommendations and proposed practical guidelines.

Shortly summarizing the above, this FP7 project has a clear impact on:

(1)   The theory exploitation and implementation,

(2)    The development of tools and instruments suitable to clinical practice and research,

(3)    The design and evaluation of a pilot intervention that can guide future research,

(4)   The health policy within settings where financial and economical crisis is calling for urgent intervention in reducing unnecessary cost denoted to pharmaceutical expenditures.

(5)  Research capacity building apart from tools and methods left a strong multidisciplinary network to provide additional research within the European setting.