November 10, 1997

Provider Training for Patient-Centered Alcohol Counseling in a Primary Care Setting

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine (Drs Ockene, Wheeler, and Hebert and Mr Hurley) and General Medicine and Primary Care (Dr Adams), University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester.

Arch Intern Med. 1997;157(20):2334-2341. doi:10.1001/archinte.1997.00440410066007

Objective:  To assess the impact of a brief training program on primary care providers' skills, attitudes, and knowledge regarding high-risk and problem drinking.

Design:  Training plus pretesting and posttesting for program efficacy.

Setting:  Ambulatory primary care clinic; academic medical center.

Participants:  Fourteen attending physicians, 12 residents, and 5 nurse practitioners were randomized by clinical team affiliation to a Special Intervention or usual care condition of a larger study. We report the results of the training program for the Special Intervention providers.

Intervention:  Providers received a 2-hour group training session plus a 10- to 20-minute individual tutorial session 2 to 6 weeks after the group session. The training focused on teaching providers how to perform patient-centered counseling for high-risk and problem drinkers.

Main Outcome Measures:  Alcohol counseling skills; attitudes regarding preparedness to intervene and perceived importance and usefulness of intervening with high-risk and problem drinkers; and knowledge of the nature, prevalence, and appropriate treatment of alcohol abuse in primary care populations.

Results:  After training, providers scored significantly higher on measures of counseling skills, preparedness to intervene, perceived usefulness and importance of intervening, and knowledge.

Conclusion:  A group training program plus brief individual feedback can significantly improve primary care providers' counseling skills, attitudes, and knowledge regarding high-risk and problem drinkers.Arch Intern Med. 1997;157:2334-2341