Wolfe et al point out the important distinction between the availability of screening instruments for alcohol problems in primary care settings and the use of these instruments by clinicians. Our goal in conducting this work was to evaluate the performance characteristics of the available screening methods for alcohol problems in primary care. We believe that our systematic review provides clinicians with valuable information about the characteristics of the various screening tools, and we are hopeful that our results will facilitate the adoption of more formal screening strategies such as use of the CAGE and AUDIT over less formal methods in primary care settings. The computer-assisted system described by Wolfe et al seems a promising method of administering these screening tools. We look forward to rigorous appraisals of new screening strategies, such as the one described by Wolfe et al, and hope that these activities will aid clinicians' efforts to both recognize and treat alcohol-related problems in primary care.
Fiellin DA, Reid MC, O'Connor PG. An Automated Screening Strategy to Identify Patients With Alcohol Problems in a Primary Care Setting—Reply. Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(6):896. doi: