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Practice facilitation to implement alcohol-related care in Veterans Health Administration liver clinics: a study protocol.

Frost MC, Ioannou GN, Tsui JI, Edelman EJ, Weiner BJ, Fletcher OV, Williams EC. Practice facilitation to implement alcohol-related care in Veterans Health Administration liver clinics: a study protocol. Implementation science communications. 2020 Jul 31; 1(1):68.

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Background: Alcohol-related care, including screening, brief intervention, and provision of/referral to medication or behavioral treatments for alcohol use disorder, could be delivered in liver clinics to better reach patients with chronic liver conditions. However, the provision of alcohol-related care in liver clinics is currently suboptimal. Practice facilitation is an evidence-based implementation strategy that may address barriers, harness facilitators, and optimize the implementation of alcohol-related care in liver clinic settings using a clinic-centered approach. We report the protocol of a study to test a practice facilitation intervention to implement alcohol-related care in four Veterans Health Administration liver clinics. Methods: This study will employ a Hybrid Type 3 effectiveness-implementation design, in which implementation outcomes are considered primary and clinical outcomes secondary. Intervention and evaluation design were informed by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research. Qualitative data collected from clinical stakeholders and patients were used to tailor the intervention. The intervention involves a 6-month period of external practice facilitation, including regular meetings to identify clinic goals, challenges, and solutions; engagement of clinic champions; provision of training and development of educational materials for clinic staff and patients; and performance monitoring and feedback. Ongoing formative evaluation involves the collection of quantitative facilitator tracking data and qualitative data from meeting notes and patient interviews to describe intervention acceptability, feasibility, and adoption, and adjust implementation as needed. In the summative evaluation, implementation outcomes (clinic rates of screening, brief intervention, and treatment referral/receipt) and clinical outcomes (unhealthy alcohol use, liver health) will be assessed among patients in participating clinics using secondary electronic health record data and interrupted time series analysis. Discussion: This will be the first study to our knowledge to test practice facilitation to implement alcohol-related care in liver clinic settings. Results from formative and summative evaluation will inform a framework for the successful implementation of effective alcohol-related care through practice facilitation in liver clinics, which may ultimately lead to better health outcomes for patients with chronic liver disease.

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