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Clin Trials. 2009 Aug;6(4):329-43. doi: 10.1177/1740774509338234. Epub 2009 Jul 8.

Getting clinical trial results into practice: design, implementation, and process evaluation of the ALLHAT Dissemination Project.

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University of Texas Health Science Center - Houston, School of Public Health, Houston, TX, USA.



Conventional dissemination of clinical trial results has inconsistent impact on physician practices. A more comprehensive plan to influence determinants of prescribing practices is warranted.


To report the response from the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's requirement for dissemination and evaluation of trials with potential immediate public health applicability.


ALLHAT's dissemination plan had two-components: (1) a traditional approach of media coverage, scientific presentation, and publication; and (2) a theory-based approach targeting determinants of clinician behavior. Strategies included: (1) academic detailing, in which physicians approach colleagues regarding blood pressure management, (2) direct patient messages to stimulate communication with physicians regarding blood pressure control, (3) approaches to formulary systems to use educational and economic incentives for evidence-based prescription, and (4) direct professional organization appeals to clinicians.


One hundred and forty-seven Investigator Educators reported 1698 presentations to 18,524 clinicians in 41 states and the District of Columbia. The pre- and post-test responses of 1709 clinicians in the face-to-face meetings indicated significant changes in expectations for positive patient outcomes and intention to prescribe diuretics. Information was mailed to 55 individuals representing 20 professional organizations and to eight formulary systems. Direct-to-patient messages were provided to 14 sites that host patient newsletters and Web sites such as health plans and insurance companies, 62 print mass media outlets, and 12 broadcast media sites.


It was not within the scope of the project to conduct a randomized trial of the impact of the dissemination. However, impact evaluation using quasi-experimental designs is ongoing.


A large multi-method dissemination of clinical trial results is feasible. Planning for dissemination efforts, including evaluation research, should be considered as a part of the funding and design of the clinical trial and should begin early in trial planning.

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