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Implementation strategies to enhance management of heavy alcohol consumption in primary health care: a meta-analysis

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Peter Anderson, Professor Eileen KanerORCiD, Professor Dorothy Newbury-Birch



Background and AimsScreening and brief interventions (SBI) delivered in primary health care (PHC) are cost-effective in decreasing alcohol consumption; however, they are underused. This study aims to identify implementation strategies that focus on SBI uptake and measure impact on: (1) heavy drinking and (2) delivery of SBI in PHC.MethodsMeta-analysis was conducted of controlled trials of SBI implementation strategies in PHC to reduce heavy drinking. Key outcomes included alcohol consumption, screening, brief interventions and costs in PHC. Predictor measures concerned single versus multiple strategies, type of strategy, duration and physician-only input versus that including mid-level professionals. Standardized mean differences (SMD) were calculated to indicate the impact of implementation strategies on key outcomes. Effect sizes were aggregated using meta-regression models.ResultsThe 29 included studies were of moderate methodological quality. Strategies had no overall impact on patients' reported alcohol consumption [SMD=0.07; 95% confidence interval (CI)= -0.02 to 0.16], despite improving screening (SMD=0.53; 95% CI=0.28-0.78) and brief intervention delivery (SMD=0.64;95% CI=0.27-1.02). Multi-faceted strategies, i.e. professional and/or organizational and/or patient-orientated strategies, seemed to have strongest effects on patients' alcohol consumption (P<0.05, compared with professional-orientated strategies alone). Regarding SBI delivery, combining professional with patient-orientated implementation strategies had the highest impact (P<0.05). Involving other staff besides physicians was beneficial for screening (P<0.05).ConclusionsTo increase delivery of alcohol screening and brief interventions and decrease patients' alcohol consumption, implementation strategies should include a combination of patient-, professional- and organizational-orientated approaches and involve mid-level health professionals as well as physicians.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Keurhorst M, van de Glind I, do Amaral-Sabadini MB, Anderson P, Kaner E, Newbury-Birch D, Braspenning J, Wensing M, Heinen M, Laurant M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Addiction

Year: 2015

Volume: 110

Issue: 12

Pages: 1877-1900

Print publication date: 01/12/2015

Online publication date: 18/09/2015

Acceptance date: 28/07/2015

Date deposited: 26/02/2016

ISSN (print): 0965-2140

ISSN (electronic): 1360-0443

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/add.13088


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Funder referenceFunder name
200310017-ODHINNetherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMW, Prevention Programme)
259268European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)