Modelling the costs and outcomes of changing rates of screening for alcohol misuse by GPs in the Australian context

Appl Health Econ Health Policy. 2006;5(3):155-66. doi: 10.2165/00148365-200605030-00002.


Aim: To assess the relative cost effectiveness of four strategies (academic detailing, computerised reminder systems, target payments and interactive continuing medical education) to increase the provision of screening and brief interventions by Australian GPs with the ultimate goal of decreasing risky alcohol consumption among their patients.

Methods: This project used a modelling approach to combine information on the effectiveness and costs of four separate strategies to change GP behaviours to estimate their relative cost effectiveness.

Results: The computerised reminder system and academic detailing appear most effective in achieving a decrease in the number of standard drinks consumed by risky drinkers.

Conclusion: Regardless of the assumptions made, the targeted payment strategy appeared to be the least cost-effective method to achieve a decrease in risky alcohol consumption while the other three strategies appear reasonably comparable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcoholism / diagnosis
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Alcoholism / prevention & control*
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis / statistics & numerical data
  • Counseling / economics
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / economics
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / methods
  • Family Practice / education
  • Family Practice / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / economics*
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Medical Audit / economics
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Reminder Systems / economics
  • Risk-Taking