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Changes in Patient-Reported Alcohol-Related Advice Following Veterans Health Administration Implementation of Brief Alcohol Interventions.

Chavez LJ, Williams EC, Lapham GT, Rubinsky AD, Kivlahan DR, Bradley KA. Changes in Patient-Reported Alcohol-Related Advice Following Veterans Health Administration Implementation of Brief Alcohol Interventions. Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs. 2016 May 1; 77(3):500-8.

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OBJECTIVE: Brief alcohol interventions are recommended for primary care patients who screen positive for alcohol misuse, but implementation is challenging. The U.S. Veterans Health Administration (Veterans Affairs [VA]) implemented brief interventions for patients with alcohol misuse in 2008, and rates of brief interventions documented in the electronic medical record increased from 24% to 78% (2008-2011). This study examined whether an independent measure of brief interventions-patient-reported alcohol-related advice-also increased among VA outpatients who screened positive for alcohol misuse on a mailed survey. METHOD: This retrospective cross-sectional study included VA outpatient respondents to the VA's Survey of Healthcare Experiences of Patients (SHEP; 2007-2011) who reported past-year alcohol use and answered a question about alcohol-related advice. Alcohol-related advice was defined as a report of past-year advice from a VA clinician to abstain from or reduce drinking. The adjusted prevalence of alcoholrelated advice among patients who screened positive for alcohol misuse (SHEP AUDIT-C = 5) was estimated for each year. RESULTS: Among patients with alcohol misuse (n = 61,843), the adjusted prevalence of alcohol-related advice increased from 40.4% (95% CI [39.3%, 41.5%]) in 2007 to 55.5% (95% CI [53.3%, 57.8%]) in 2011. Rates of alcoholrelated advice increased significantly each year except the last. CONCLUSIONS: The VA's efforts to implement brief interventions were associated with increased patient-reported alcohol-related advice over time, with a majority of patients with alcohol misuse reporting its receipt. Other systems considering similar approaches to implementation may benefit from collecting patient-reported measures of brief interventions for an additional perspective on implementation.

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