Effectiveness of strategies to implement brief alcohol intervention in primary healthcare. A systematic review

Scand J Prim Health Care. 2006 Mar;24(1):5-15. doi: 10.1080/02813430500475282.


Objective: To review systematically the available literature on implementation of brief alcohol interventions in primary healthcare in order to determine the effectiveness of the implementation efforts by the health are providers. KEY QUESTION: To what extent have the efforts to implement brief alcohol interventions in primary healthcare environments been successful?

Method: Literature search from Medline, Cinahl, PsychLIT, Cochrane.

Setting: Primary healthcare.

Material: A total of 11 studies encompassing 921 GPs, 266 nurses, 88 medical students, and 44 "non-physicians" from Europe, the USA, and Australia.

Main outcome measures: Material utilization, screening, and brief intervention rates.

Answer: Intervention effectiveness (material utilization, screening, and brief intervention rates) generally increased with the intensity of the intervention effort, i.e. the amount of training and/or support provided. Nevertheless, the overall effectiveness was rather modest. However, the studies examined were too heterogeneous, not scientifically rigorous enough, and applied too brief follow-up times to provide conclusive answers.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Communication
  • Counseling
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Participation
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Risk Factors