SBIRT as a Vital Sign for Behavioral Health Identification, Diagnosis, and Referral in Community Health Care

Ann Fam Med. May-Jun 2015;13(3):261-3. doi: 10.1370/afm.1776.


The purpose of this quasi-experimental design study was to examine the effectiveness of the behavioral health Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) program at a community health center. The study group was twice as likely (25.3%) to have depression and substance abuse diagnosed compared with the control group (11.4%) (P <.001). Referral rates for the study group were more likely to occur (12.4%) compared with referral rates for the control group (1.0%) (P <.001); however, the kept appointment rates by patients for behavioral health problems referrals remained low for both groups. SBIRT was effectively utilized in a community health center, resulting in increased rates for diagnosis of behavioral health problems and referrals of patients.

Keywords: SBIRT; alcohol abuse; depression; integration; mass screening; primary health care; substance abuse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Centers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Ohio
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care*
  • Referral and Consultation / standards*
  • Self Administration
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis*