Strategies to Implement Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention in Primary Care Settings: A Structured Literature Review

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Although alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI) reduces drinking in primary care patients with unhealthy alcohol use, incorporating SBI into clinical settings has been challenging. We systematically reviewed the literature on implementation studies of alcohol SBI using a broad conceptual model of implementation, the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR), to identify domains addressed by programs that achieved high rates of screening and/or brief intervention (BI). Seventeen articles from 8 implementation programs were included; studies were conducted in 9 countries and represented 533,903 patients (127,304 patients screened), 2,001 providers, and 1,805 clinics. Rates of SBI varied across articles (2–93% for screening and 0.9–73.1% for BI). Implementation programs described use of 7–25 of the 39 CFIR elements. Most programs used strategies that spanned all 5 domains of the CFIR with varying emphases on particular domains and sub-domains. Comparison of SBI rates was limited by most studies' being conducted by 2 implementation programs and by different outcome measures, scopes, and durations. However, one implementation program reported a high rate of screening relative to other programs (93%) and could be distinguished by its use of strategies that related to the Inner Setting, Outer Setting, and Process of Implementation domains of the CFIR. Future studies could assess whether focusing on Inner Setting, Outer Setting, and Process of Implementation elements of the CFIR during implementation is associated with successful implementation of alcohol screening, as well as which elements may be associated with successful, sustained implementation of BI.

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