Raising achievement: Educating physicians to address effects of at-risk drinking on common diseases

Meghan A. Gannon, Amir Qaseem, Vincenza Snow, Barbara Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background Despite a high prevalence, internists rarely screen for at-risk drinking. A contributing factor is likely to be physicians' limited understanding of the negative effects that at-risk drinking can have on common clinical conditions managed on a daily basis. Objective To develop and conduct a pre-post pilot evaluation of a web-based educational programme to educate and support physicians to assess alcohol use in patients with sleep disorders, depression and hypertension. Methods An expert panel developed a programme that addressed: 1) screening for alcohol use; 2) evidence on effect of alcohol on hypertension, sleep disorders and depression; 3) brief interventions for at-risk drinking with patient education materials; and 4) codes for payment of brief alcohol interventions. From an internist network, 17 physicians were recruited for a pilot test of the web-based educational programme. All participants were surveyed at baseline and at an end point three months after the intervention about attitudes, knowledge and beliefs about at-risk drinkers and effects of alcohol on hypertension, sleep disorders and depression. Results Among the 17 study physicians: 1) most believed that at-risk drinking affected their ability to treat hypertension, sleep disorders and depression (77% at baseline and 65% at end point); 2) nearly all were aware that at-risk drinking affects hypertension, sleep disorders and depression (94% at baseline and 94% at end point); and 3) 94% rated the educational programme positively at the end point. Frustration with managing at-risk alcohol use decreased (from 71% at baseline to 53% at end point) and study physicians' self-reported screening for at-risk drinking increased for new patients (from 47% at baseline to 71% at end point) and established patients (from 35% at baseline to 47% at end point). Conclusion This pilot of a web-based educational programme for internists was well received by study physicians. The programme increased screening for at-risk drinking while reducing frustration in dealing with this condition. Future work needs to evaluate this highly accessible programme in diverse practices and assess patient-related outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-47
Number of pages5
JournalQuality in Primary Care
Volume19
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011

Keywords

  • At-risk drinking
  • Common conditions
  • Web-based education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Raising achievement: Educating physicians to address effects of at-risk drinking on common diseases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this