Efficacy of Alcohol Brief Intervention in Primary Care by Nonphysicians
The best evidence for the efficacy of brief intervention (BI) for unhealthy alcohol use is in primary care. But does a physician have to deliver it? Researchers conducted a systematic review of studies of nonphysician interventions (those delivered by a nurse practitioner, nurse, health educator, counselor, psychologist, therapist, or “trained interventionist”) in primary-care settings. Thirteen studies of fair to poor quality met inclusion criteria.
- In 3 studies comparing physician and nonphysician BI, no difference in drinking outcomes was found.
- In 2 studies comparing the addition of a nonphysician to a physician BI, the first found no difference in drinking outcomes while the second found it further reduced drinking (5.8 versus 3.4 fewer drinks per week).
- In 7 studies of 2210 patients, drinking was 1.7 drinks per week lower in the nonphysician BI group compared with usual care (no BI).