HSR&D Citation Abstract
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Providers' Perspectives on Barriers and Facilitators to Connecting Women Veterans to Alcohol-Related Care From Primary Care.
Abraham TH, Lewis ET, Cucciare MA. Providers' Perspectives on Barriers and Facilitators to Connecting Women Veterans to Alcohol-Related Care From Primary Care. Military medicine. 2017 Sep 1; 182(9):e1888-e1894.
Unhealthy drinking is relatively common among women U.S. military Veterans. Primary care is often the setting where patients first come into contact with the health care system, and providers in this setting play a critical role in connecting unhealthy drinkers to appropriate care. Little is known about primary care providers' perspectives on factors that affect whether women Veterans presenting to primary care with unhealthy drinking connect to alcohol-related care. Understanding factors that affect whether patients connect to alcohol-related care may improve providers' ability to support women Veterans with unhealthy drinking get needed care.
This qualitative study used semi-structured interviews with 14 providers from two Veterans Administration Women's Health primary care clinics, including nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians' assistants, and physicians, and colocated mental health providers. The interviews were transcribed, and themes pertaining to providers' perspectives on barriers and facilitators to connecting women Veterans' with unhealthy drinking to alcohol-related care were identified through template analysis.
Primary care providers perceived numerous provider- and clinic-level factors as relevant to their ability to connect women Veterans to alcohol-related care. Barriers providers described were insufficient care resources, provider prioritization of alcohol-related care, insufficient knowledge of care options or the referral process among providers, time constraints during routine clinical visits, and the referral process for alcohol-related care. They also described resources available in primary care, primary care provider behaviors, and initiatives at the Veterans Administration as helpful.
Although primary care providers are gatekeepers to specialty treatment services, ongoing education, and colocated mental health staff could help reduce barriers to these services, ultimately improving health outcomes for women Veterans and others with unhealthy drinking.