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Influence of a targeted performance measure for brief intervention on gender differences in receipt of brief intervention among patients with unhealthy alcohol use in the Veterans Health Administration.

Williams EC, Lapham GT, Rubinsky AD, Chavez LJ, Berger D, Bradley KA. Influence of a targeted performance measure for brief intervention on gender differences in receipt of brief intervention among patients with unhealthy alcohol use in the Veterans Health Administration. Journal of substance abuse treatment. 2017 Oct 1; 81:11-16.

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Abstract:

AIMS: Women are less likely than men to receive brief intervention (BI) for unhealthy alcohol use. In 2007, the U.S. Veterans Health Administration (VA) used a national performance measure to implement BI. Although AUDIT-C scores = 3 for women and = 4 for men optimize sensitivity and specificity for identifying unhealthy alcohol use, VA''s performance measure required BI only among a targeted subgroup defined by a non-gender-specific score threshold (AUDIT-C = 5). This may have influenced gender differences in receipt of BI among those optimally eligible for BI. Therefore, we evaluate differences in proportions of women and men offered BI before and after BI implementation. METHODS: National secondary chart review data (7/06-6/10) identified all outpatients with unhealthy alcohol use for whom BI would be indicated (AUDIT-C = 3 women, = 4 men). Logistic regression, including a time-by-gender interaction, estimated the prevalence and 95% confidence interval (CI) of BI for women and men pre- and post-implementation. FINDINGS: Among patients optimally eligible for BI (n = 51,272, 8206 women and 43,066 men), the prevalence of BI increased more steeply for men than women after implementation (interaction p-value < 0.0001). Pre-implementation rates of BI were 21% (95% CI, 18-24) for women and 26% (95% CI, 24-29) for men, and post-implementation rates were 32% (95% CI, 30-34) for women and 47% (95% CI, 45-49) for men. CONCLUSIONS: Healthcare systems implementing BI with performance measures may wish to consider that specifying a single alcohol screening threshold for men and women may increase gender differences in receipt of BI among patients likely to benefit.





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