Using standardized patients to evaluate screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) knowledge and skill acquisition for internal medicine residents

Subst Abus. 2012;33(3):303-7. doi: 10.1080/08897077.2011.640103.


Comprehensive clinical competency curricula for hazardous drinking and substance use disorders (SUDs) exists for medical students, residents, and practicing health care providers. Evaluations of these curricula typically focus on learner attitudes and knowledge, although changes in clinical skills are of greater interest and utility. The authors present a pre-post clinical skill evaluation of a 10-hour screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) curriculum for hazardous drinking and SUDs for primary care internal medicine residents using standardized patient examinations to better determine the impact of SBIRT training on clinical practice. Residents had large improvements in history taking, substance use screening skills, SUD assessment and diagnostic skills, and in SBIRT knowledge, including documentation, systems, and diversity issues. Residents made moderate improvements in brief intervention skills. Future SBIRT curricular evaluations would ideally include a controlled comparison with larger samples from multiple institutions.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Curriculum / standards
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine / education*
  • Internship and Residency / methods*
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Primary Health Care / methods
  • Psychotherapy, Brief / education*
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Substance Abuse Detection*
  • Substance-Related Disorders*