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

Myrna Keurhorst, Irene van de Glind, Michaela Bitarello do. Amaral-Sabadini, Peter Anderson, Eileen Kaner, Dorothy Newbury-Birch, Jozé Braspenning, Michel Wensing, Maud Heinen, M. G. H. (Miranda) Laurant

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    Background and Aims Screening 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 andmeasure impact on: (1) heavy drinking and (2) delivery of SBI in PHC.Methods Meta-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. Results The 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). Conclusions To 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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number0
    Pages (from-to)1877-1900
    Number of pages24
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2015


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