Increasing Follow-up Outcomes of At-Risk Alcohol Patients Using Motivational Interviewing

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Our trauma division implemented a screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) program in 2009 and has maintained more than 92% screening rate for all inpatient admissions since inception. Brief interventions are proven to be more likely to effect and reinforce change if a follow-up contact is made with patients. This led to discussion regarding whether identified patients were more likely to follow up with our SBIRT wellness specialist using motivational interviewing or with our partners, exercise physiology, who use traditional interviewing techniques. We retrospectively reviewed more than 3,000 inpatient admissions in which screening for at-risk alcohol use were positive. Fifty-one percent of identified patients were referred for wellness specialist consultation with a follow-up rate of 52% compared with a follow-up rate of only 21% in the exercise physiology group. Motivational interviewing is more effective in encouraging at-risk alcohol users to participate in follow-up care.

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