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J Gen Intern Med. 2015 Aug;30(8):1097-104. doi: 10.1007/s11606-015-3218-5.

Association Between Receipt of Brief Alcohol Intervention and Quality of Care among Veteran Outpatients with Unhealthy Alcohol Use.

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Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA,



Brief alcohol intervention, including advice to reduce or abstain from drinking, is widely recommended for general medical outpatients with unhealthy alcohol use, but it is challenging to implement. Among other implementation challenges, providers report reluctance to deliver such interventions, citing concerns about negatively affecting their patient relationships.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether patient-reported receipt of brief intervention was associated with patient-reported indicators of high-quality care among veteran outpatients with unhealthy alcohol use.


Cross-sectional secondary data analysis was performed using the Veterans Health Administration (VA) Survey of Healthcare Experiences of Patients (SHEP).


The study included veteran outpatients who (1) responded to the outpatient long-form SHEP (2009-2011), (2) screened positive for unhealthy alcohol use (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-Consumption (AUDIT-C) questionnaire score ≥ 3 for women, ≥ 4 for men), and (3) responded to questions assessing receipt of brief intervention and quality of care.


We used logistic regression models to estimate the adjusted predicted prevalence of reporting two indicators of high-quality care--patient ratings of their VA provider and of overall VA healthcare (range 0-10, dichotomized as ≥ 9 indicating high quality)--for both patients who did and did not report receipt of brief intervention (receiving alcohol-related advice from a provider) within the previous year.


Among 10,612 eligible veterans, 43.8% reported having received brief intervention, and 84.2% and 79.1% rated their quality of care as high from their provider and the VA healthcare system, respectively. In adjusted analyses, compared to veterans who reported receiving no brief intervention, a higher proportion of veterans reporting receipt of brief intervention rated the quality of healthcare from their provider (86.9% vs. 82.0%, p < 0.01) and the VA overall (82.7% vs. 75.9%, p < 0.01) as high.


In this cross-sectional analysis of veterans with unhealthy alcohol use, a higher proportion of those who reported receipt of brief intervention reported receiving high-quality care compared to those who reported having received no such intervention. These findings do not support provider concerns that delivering brief intervention adversely affects patients' perceptions of care.

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