Send to

Choose Destination
J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2016 May;77(3):500-8.

Changes in Patient-Reported Alcohol-Related Advice Following Veterans Health Administration Implementation of Brief Alcohol Interventions.

Author information

Health Services Research & Development, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, Washington.
Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, Washington.
Center of Excellence in Substance Abuse Treatment and Education, VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, Washington.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.



Brief alcohol interventions are recommended for primary care patients who screen positive for alcohol misuse, but implementation is challenging. The U.S. Veterans Health Administration (Veterans Affairs [VA]) implemented brief interventions for patients with alcohol misuse in 2008, and rates of brief interventions documented in the electronic medical record increased from 24% to 78% (2008-2011). This study examined whether an independent measure of brief interventions-patient-reported alcohol-related advice-also increased among VA outpatients who screened positive for alcohol misuse on a mailed survey.


This retrospective cross-sectional study included VA outpatient respondents to the VA's Survey of Healthcare Experiences of Patients (SHEP; 2007-2011) who reported past-year alcohol use and answered a question about alcohol-related advice. Alcohol-related advice was defined as a report of past-year advice from a VA clinician to abstain from or reduce drinking. The adjusted prevalence of alcoholrelated advice among patients who screened positive for alcohol misuse (SHEP AUDIT-C ≥ 5) was estimated for each year.


Among patients with alcohol misuse (n = 61,843), the adjusted prevalence of alcohol-related advice increased from 40.4% (95% CI [39.3%, 41.5%]) in 2007 to 55.5% (95% CI [53.3%, 57.8%]) in 2011. Rates of alcoholrelated advice increased significantly each year except the last.


The VA's efforts to implement brief interventions were associated with increased patient-reported alcohol-related advice over time, with a majority of patients with alcohol misuse reporting its receipt. Other systems considering similar approaches to implementation may benefit from collecting patient-reported measures of brief interventions for an additional perspective on implementation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Dartmouth Journal Services Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center