Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 11-May-2012, Vol 125 No 1354
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Is routine alcohol screening and brief intervention feasible in a New Zealand primary care environment?
Heather Gifford, Sue Paton, Lynley Cvitanovic, John McMenamin, Chloe Newton
To test the feasibility of a systemised ABC alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI) approach in general practice in a New Zealand region.
Data were collected on patients over 15 years who had their alcohol status recorded using the AUDIT tool. A concurrent independent process evaluation was conducted to assess effectiveness of ABC alcohol SBI related training and implementation of intervention.
In an 8-month period, general practices in the Whanganui region documented alcohol consumption of 43% of their patients. Of the 43% of patients screened 24% were drinking contrary to ALACís low risk drinking advice. Of these, 36% received brief advice or referral.
Success of the approach can be attributed to the use of the Patient Dashboard reminder software and linked alcohol recording form. Other success factors included the use of a clinical champion and project leader, education and training, funding for extra GP and nurse assessment time and linking of the ABC alcohol SBI approach to existing services.
Primary care in Whanganui has demonstrated the capacity to routinely query patient alcohol use and offer brief advice. If the approach was more widely adopted, there is considerable scope for general practice nationally to address potentially harmful patient alcohol use.
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