Involvement of general practitioners in managing alcohol problems: A randomized controlled trial of a tailored improvement programme

IQ healthcare, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
Addiction (Impact Factor: 4.74). 02/2012; 107(9):1601-11. DOI: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2012.03868.x
Source: PubMed


To assess the effect of a tailored multi-faceted improvement programme on general practitioners' (GPs') behaviour towards prevention of hazardous and harmful alcohol consumption. The improvement programme consisted of activities aimed at the GP, organization and patient. Educational training sessions and visits by a facilitator were tailored to the GPs' needs and attitudes.
Cluster randomized controlled trial.
General practices in the Netherlands.
Seventy-seven general practices; 119 GPs participated. Data from 6318 patients were available, of whom 765 (12.1%) were at risk. A total of 1502 patients' electronic medical records were reviewed.
The primary outcome was the number of eligible patients who received screening and advice.
Difficulties in recruiting GPs and in motivating GPs for participation in the tailored parts of the programme impeded optimal implementation of the programme. Although GPs in both groups became more involved after enrolment, this improvement waned during the trial. The quality improvement programme enhanced the initial improvement in behaviour and it tempered waning (intervention group), compared to our control condition, resulting in average improvement rates of 5% (screening) and 2% (advice-giving) at 12-month follow-up (not significant).
A tailored, multi-faceted programme aimed at improving general practitioner management of alcohol consumption in their patients failed to show an effect and proved difficult to implement. There remains little evidence to support the use of such an intensive implementation programme to improve the management of harmful and hazardous alcohol consumption in primary care.

6 Reads
  • Source
    • "Whilst there have been successive attempts to encourage the routine delivery of brief alcohol interventions in day-to-day practice, most efforts have demonstrated limited success (56–60), and implementation of this form of preventive care remains inconsistent. In the UK, for example, although survey data suggest that GPs see both preventative medicine and alcohol intervention as increasingly high priority public health areas, and they generally view primary health care as an appropriate setting to raise and discuss alcohol issues (61), most do not routinely ask patients about their drinking (62). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: Robust evidence supports the effectiveness of screening and brief alcohol interventions in primary healthcare. However, lack of understanding about their "active ingredients" and concerns over the extent to which current approaches remain faithful to their original theoretical roots has led some to demand a cautious approach to future roll-out pending further research. Against this background, this paper provides a timely overview of the development of the brief alcohol intervention evidence base to assess the extent to which it has achieved the four key levels of intervention research: efficacy, effectiveness, implementation, and demonstration. Methods: Narrative overview based on (1) the results of a review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of the effectiveness of brief alcohol intervention in primary healthcare and (2) synthesis of the findings of key additional primary studies on the improvement and evaluation of brief alcohol intervention implementation in routine primary healthcare. Results: The brief intervention field seems to constitute an almost perfect example of the evaluation of a complex intervention. Early evaluations of screening and brief intervention approaches included more tightly controlled efficacy trials and have been followed by more pragmatic trials of effectiveness in routine clinical practice. Most recently, attention has shifted to dissemination, implementation, and wider-scale roll-out. However, delivery in routine primary health remains inconsistent, with an identified knowledge gap around how to successfully embed brief alcohol intervention approaches in mainstream care, and as yet unanswered questions concerning what specific intervention component prompt the positive changes in alcohol consumption. Conclusion: Both the efficacy and effectiveness of brief alcohol interventions have been comprehensively demonstrated, and intervention effects seem replicable and stable over time, and across different study contexts. Thus, while unanswered questions remain, given the positive evidence amassed to date, research efforts should maintain a continued focus on promoting sustained implementation of screening and brief alcohol intervention approaches in primary care to ensure that those who might benefit from screening and brief alcohol interventions actually receive such support.
    Frontiers in Psychiatry 08/2014; 5(113). DOI:10.3389/fpsyt.2014.00113
  • Source
    • "So, with the main outcome being changes in patient behavior at follow-up, this was a treatment effectiveness trial. In relation to the van Beurden trial [2] it seems that the null findings were due to the failure of the improvement program to motivate enough GPs to deliver BI, not to the failure of the intervention itself to affect patients’ behavior. It is therefore not relevant to the main issue under discussion – the comparison of effects between efficacy and treatment effectiveness trials. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Three recent sets of null findings from trials of alcohol brief intervention (BI) have been disappointing to those who wish to see a reduction in alcohol-related harm through the widespread dissemination of BI. Saitz (7) has suggested that these null findings result from a failure to translate the effects of BI seen in efficacy trials, which are thought to contribute mainly to the beneficial effects of BI shown in meta-analyses, to effectiveness trials conducted in real-world clinical practice. The present article aims to: (i) clarify the meaning of the terms "efficacy" and "effectiveness" and other related concepts; (ii) review the method and findings on efficacy-effectiveness measurement in the 2007 Cochrane Review by Kaner and colleagues; and (iii) make suggestions for further research in this area. Conclusions are: 1) to avoid further confusion, terms such as "efficacy trial", "effectiveness trial", "clinical representativeness", etc. should be clearly defined and carefully used; 2) applications of BI to novel settings should begin with foundational research and developmental studies, followed by efficacy trials, and political pressures for quick results from premature effectiveness trials should be resisted; 3) clear criteria are available in the literature to guide progress from efficacy research, through effectiveness research, to dissemination in practice; 4) to properly interpret null findings from effectiveness studies, it is necessary to ensure that interventions are delivered as intended; 5) in future meta-analyses of alcohol BI trials, more attention should be paid to the development and application of a psychometrically robust scale to measure efficacy-effectiveness or clinical representativeness; 6) the null findings under consideration cannot be firmly attributed to a failure to translate effects from efficacy trials to real-world practice, because it is possible that the majority of trials included in meta-analyses on which the evidence for the beneficial effects of alcohol BI was based tended to be effectiveness rather than efficacy trials; and 7) a hypothesis to explain the null findings in question is that they are due to lack of fidelity in the implementation of BI in large, organizationally complex, cluster randomized trials.
    Addiction science & clinical practice 08/2014; 9(1):13. DOI:10.1186/1940-0640-9-13
  • Source
    • "Additionally, in line with our finding that the programme did not increase role security, was the fact that the study results did not show improved screening and brief intervention rates. The screening and brief intervention rates were initially improved during the implementation period, but the effects deteriorated at the end, i.e. there was no difference between the intervention group and control group [23]. This may imply that only if both role security and therapeutic commitment are improved this will have an impact on provider behaviour. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: General practitioners with more positive role security and therapeutic commitment towards patients with hazardous or harmful alcohol consumption are more involved and manage more alcohol-related problems than others. In this study we evaluated the effects of our tailored multi-faceted improvement implementation programme on GPs' role security and therapeutic commitment and, in addition, which professional related factors influenced the impact of the implementation programme. In a cluster randomised controlled trial, 124 GPs from 82 Dutch general practices were randomised to either the intervention or control group. The tailored, multi-faceted programme included combined physician, organisation, and patient directed alcohol-specific implementation strategies to increase role security and therapeutic commitment in GPs. The control group was mailed the national guideline and patients received feedback letters. Questionnaires were completed before and 12 months after start of the programme. We performed linear multilevel regression analysis to evaluate effects of the implementation programme. Participating GPs were predominantly male (63%) and had received very low levels of alcohol related education before start of the study (0.4 h). The programme increased therapeutic commitment (p = 0.005; 95%-CI 0.13 - 0.73) but not role security (p = 0.58; 95%-CI -0.31 - 0.54). How important GPs thought it was to improve their care for problematic alcohol consumption, and the GPs' reported proportion of patients asked about alcohol consumption at baseline, contributed to the effect of the programme on therapeutic commitment. A tailored, multi-faceted programme aimed at improving GP management of patients with hazardous and harmful alcohol consumption improved GPs' therapeutic commitment towards patients with alcohol-related problems, but failed to improve GPs' role security. How important GPs thought it was to improve their care for problematic alcohol consumption, and the GPs' reported proportion of patients asked about alcohol consumption at baseline, both increased the impact of the programme on therapeutic commitment. It might be worthwhile to monitor proceeding of role security and therapeutic commitment throughout the year after the implementation programme, to see whether the programme is effective on short term but faded out on the longer term.Trial registration: Identifier: NCT00298220.
    BMC Family Practice 04/2014; 15(1):70. DOI:10.1186/1471-2296-15-70 · 1.67 Impact Factor
Show more