Brief interventions for at-risk drinking: Patient outcomes and cost-effectiveness in managed care organizations

University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, United States
Alcohol and Alcoholism (Impact Factor: 2.89). 10/2006; 41(6):624-31. DOI: 10.1093/alcalc/agl078
Source: PubMed


Evaluate effectiveness and costs of brief interventions for patients screening positive for at-risk drinking in managed health care organizations (MCOs).
A pre-post, quasi-experimental, multi-site evaluation conducted at 15 clinic sites within five MCO settings. At-risk drinkers (N = 1329) received either: (i) brief intervention delivered by licensed practitioners; or (ii) brief intervention delivered by mid-level professional specialists (nurses); or (iii) usual care (comparison condition). Clinics were randomly assigned to three study conditions. Data were collected on the cost of screening and brief intervention. Follow-up interviews were conducted at 3 and 12 months.
Participants in all three study conditions were drinking significantly less at 3-month follow-up, but the decline was significantly greater in the two intervention groups than in the control group. There were no significant differences between the two intervention conditions. Of the patients in the intervention conditions 60% reduced their alcohol consumption by > or =1 drink per week, compared with 53% of those in the control condition. No differences were found on a measure of the quality of life. Differential reductions in weekly alcohol consumption between intervention and control groups were significant at 12-month follow-up. Average incremental costs of the interventions were 4.16 US dollar per patient using licensed practitioners and 2.82 US dollar using mid-level specialists.
Alcohol screening and brief intervention when implemented in managed care organizations produces modest, statistically significant reductions in at-risk drinking. Interventions delivered to a common protocol by mid-level specialists are as effective as those delivered by licensed practitioners at about two-thirds the cost.

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    • "Results from this meta-analysis indicate that more primary studies are needed to directly compare different single-session interventions for heavy drinking college students—especially to untangle the effects of feedback and MET/MI modalities—and with longer follow-up. Given the modest average effect size, researchers should also continue developing more potent interventions by refining elements that appear most effective and/or developing new approaches (e.g., Babor et al., 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to conduct a meta-analysis summarizing the effectiveness of brief, single-session interventions to reduce alcohol use among heavy drinking college students. A comprehensive literature search identified 73 studies comparing the effects of single-session brief alcohol intervention with treatment-as-usual or no-treatment control conditions on alcohol use among heavy drinking college students. Random-effects meta-analyses with robust variance estimates were used to synthesize 662 effect sizes, estimating the average overall effect of the interventions and the variability in effects across a range of moderators. An overall mean effect size of ḡ = 0.18, 95% CI [0.12, 0.24] indicated that, on average, single-session brief alcohol interventions significantly reduced alcohol use among heavy drinking college students relative to comparison conditions. There was minimal variability in effects associated with study method and quality, general study characteristics, participant demographics, or outcome measure type. However, studies using motivational enhancement therapy/motivational interviewing (MET/MI) modalities reported larger effects than those using psychoeducational therapy (PET) interventions. Further investigation revealed that studies using MET/ MI and feedback-only interventions, but not those using cognitive-behavioral therapy or PET modalities, reported average effect sizes that differed significantly from zero. There was also evidence that long-term effects were weaker than short-term effects. Single-session brief alcohol interventions show modest effects for reducing alcohol consumption among heavy drinking college students and may be particularly effective when they incorporate MET/MI principles. More research is needed to directly compare intervention modalities, to develop more potent interventions, and to explore the persistence of long-term effects.
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    • "With regards to the total duration of the intervention (i.e., the total contact time between patient and delivery staff, either face-to-face or over the telephone, aggregated over multiple contacts where appropriate), 12 studies evaluate interventions of 10 min or less (4, 13–15, 20, 23, 25, 28, 32, 33) and 11 consider interventions of over 10 min (with a maximum duration of 45 min) (4, 7, 13, 14, 16, 18, 21, 26, 28, 29). Again the heterogeneity of methods and outcomes makes direct comparison difficult, although there is no clear difference in terms of cost-effectiveness between shorter and longer interventions. "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: The efficacy of screening and brief interventions (SBIs) for excessive alcohol use in primary care is well established; however, evidence on their cost-effectiveness is limited. A small number of previous reviews have concluded that SBI programs are likely to be cost-effective but these results are equivocal and important questions around the cost-effectiveness implications of key policy decisions such as staffing choices for delivery of SBIs and the intervention duration remain unanswered. Methods: Studies reporting both the costs and a measure of health outcomes of programs combining SBIs in primary care were identified by searching MEDLINE, EMBASE, Econlit, the Cochrane Library Database (including NHS EED), CINAHL, PsycINFO, Assia and the Social Science Citation Index, and Science Citation Index via Web of Knowledge. Included studies have been stratified both by delivery staff and intervention duration and assessed for quality using the Drummond checklist for economic evaluations. Results: The search yielded a total of 23 papers reporting the results of 22 distinct studies. There was significant heterogeneity in methods and outcome measures between studies; however, almost all studies reported SBI programs to be cost-effective. There was no clear evidence that either the duration of the intervention or the delivery staff used had a substantial impact on this result. Conclusion: This review provides strong evidence that SBI programs in primary care are a cost-effective option for tackling alcohol misuse.
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    • "The authors do concede the possibility that this lack of relationship may indicate insensitivity in the classification tool. Nevertheless, they conclude: " In the field of brief alcohol intervention, there has been a growing view that most of the trials to date have been tightly controlled efficacy studies and not particularly representative of routine clinical practice (Babor et al., 2006) [33]. …..within the context of trial-based evaluation, we feel that the current body of brief alcohol intervention research is applicable to clinical practice. "
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    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.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Addiction science & clinical practice
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