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Drug Alcohol Rev. 2008 Sep;27(5):548-58. doi: 10.1080/09595230802245535.

Strategies for facilitating change in alcohol and other drugs (AOD) professional practice: a systematic review of the effectiveness of reminders and feedback.

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National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction, Flinders University, South Australia, Australia.


In all areas of health research, including the alcohol and other drugs (AOD) field, funds are committed to developing and evaluating research and resources, yet little is invested into helping potential resource users understand, adopt and implement innovations. This study evaluated the effectiveness of two professional practice change interventions (reminders and feedback) that are designed to bridge the 'research-practice gap' by increasing knowledge and changing behaviour of health-care professionals and specialist AOD workers. We conducted a systematic review of general health, AOD and mental health literature (1966 to March 2005). Fourteen existing systematic reviews and 15 primary studies were assessed. Because few studies evaluated the effectiveness of reminders and feedback in the AOD context, evidence is drawn largely from the general health-care literature. Use of reminders and feedback is supported for a range of health behaviours. AOD-specific clinical behaviours that are most likely to be improved with the use of reminders or feedback include pharmacotherapy prescribing, AOD education, screening and counselling and monitoring/management of AOD treatment and/or related problems (e.g. depression). Reminders and feedback are effective strategies to facilitate professional practice change and have potential in the AOD field. However, further well-designed empirical studies are needed to assess fully the effectiveness of these professional practice change strategies in AOD-specific contexts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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