Injuries constitute a major public health problem. Millions of people are injured each year and acute drinking is a well-known risk factor for injuries. Research suggests that acknowledgment of alcohol as a factor in an injury enhances willingness to change drinking behavior, possibly because the patient becomes aware of the negative consequences of their drinking.
To investigate the prevalence of acute alcohol consumption (drinking prior to the event) among injury patients and to examine the importance of factors potentially associated with motivation to reduce alcohol consumption among these patients.
All patients aged 18–69 years were requested to answer alcohol-related questions on a touch-screen computer.
Fifteen percent of injured patients were categorized as acute drinkers and, of these, 64% reported that their injury was connected to alcohol. There were significant differences for all sociodemographic and drinking characteristics between acute drinkers and non-acute drinkers. Acute drinkers were categorized as risky drinkers to a much higher extent than non-acute drinkers. Acute drinkers had a considerably higher average weekly alcohol consumption and engaged far more frequently in heavy episodic drinking than non-acute drinkers. Acute drinkers were motivated to reduce their alcohol intake to a greater extent than non-acute drinkers; 51% were in the action, preparation, and contemplation stages, compared with 19% of the non-acute drinkers.
Acute drinkers had considerably more detrimental alcohol consumption than non-acute drinkers and the acute drinkers were more motivated to reduce their drinking than the non-acute drinkers.
alcohol consumption; acute drinking; motivation to change; injured patients; emergency department
Alcohol screening and brief intervention is recommended for widespread implementation in health care systems, but it is not used routinely in most countries for a variety of reasons. Electronic screening and brief intervention (e-SBI), in which patients complete a Web-based questionnaire and are provided with personalized feedback on their drinking, is a promising alternative to practitioner delivered intervention, but its efficacy in the hospital outpatient setting has not been established.
The objective of our study was to establish the feasibility of conducting a full-scale randomized controlled trial to determine whether e-SBI reduces alcohol consumption in hospital outpatients with hazardous or harmful drinking.
The study was conducted in the outpatient department of a large public hospital in Newcastle (population 540,000), Australia. Adults with appointments at a broad range of medical and surgical outpatient clinics were invited to complete an e-SBI program on a laptop, and to report their impressions via a short questionnaire. Follow-up assessments were conducted 2-8 weeks later by email and post.
We approached 172 outpatients and 108/172 (62.8%) agreed to participate. Of the 106 patients capable of self-administering the e-SBI, 7/106 (6.6%) did not complete it (3 due to technical problems and 4 because they were called for their appointment), 15/106 (14.2%) indicated that they had not consumed any alcohol in the past 12 months, 43/106 (40.6%) screened negative for unhealthy alcohol use (scored less than 5 on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test Consumption [AUDIT-C] questions), 33/106 (31.1%) screened positive for hazardous or harmful drinking (AUDIT-C score 5-9), and 8/106 (7.5%) screened positive for possible alcohol dependence (AUDIT-C score 10-12). Among the subgroup with hazardous or harmful drinking, 27/33 (82%) found the feedback on their drinking very, quite, or somewhat useful, 33/33 (100%) thought the intervention would appeal to most or some of the people who attend the service, and 22/30 (73%) completed the follow-up. We also found that some well established procedures used in trials of e-SBI in the primary care setting did not translate to the hospital outpatient setting (1) we experienced delays because the e-SBI program had to be developed and maintained by the health service’s information technology staff for security reasons, (2) recruiting patients as they left the reception desk was impractical because patients tended to arrive at the beginning of the clinics with few arrivals thereafter, and (3) use of a laptop in a fixed location resulted in some patients rushing through the e-SBI so they could return to their seat in the area they had been advised to wait in.
e-SBI is acceptable to outpatients and with some adaptation to organizational and physical conditions, it is feasible to recruit and screen patients and to deliver the intervention without disrupting normal service provision. This suggests that e-SBI could be provided routinely in this important setting if shown to be efficacious.
alcohol; drinking; screening; brief intervention; hospital; outpatients; Internet
Alcohol use is an important issue among problem drug users. Although screening and brief intervention (SBI) are effective in reducing problem alcohol use in primary care, no research has examined this issue among problem drug users.
The objective of this study is to determine if a complex intervention including SBI for problem alcohol use among problem drug users is feasible and acceptable in practice. This study also aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention in reducing the proportion of patients with problem alcohol use.
Psychosocial intervention for alcohol use among problem drug users (PINTA) is a pilot feasibility study of a complex intervention comprising SBI for problem alcohol use among problem drug users with cluster randomization at the level of general practice, integrated qualitative process evaluation, and involving general practices in two socioeconomically deprived regions.
Practices (N=16) will be eligible to participate if they are registered to prescribe methadone and/or at least 10 patients of the practice are currently receiving addiction treatment. Patient must meet the following inclusion criteria to participate in this study: 18 years of age or older, receiving addiction treatment/care (eg, methadone), or known to be a problem drug user. This study is based on a complex intervention supporting SBI for problem alcohol use among problem drug users (experimental group) compared to an “assessment-only” control group. Control practices will be provided with a delayed intervention after follow-up. Primary outcomes of the study are feasibility and acceptability of the intervention to patients and practitioners. Secondary outcome includes the effectiveness of the intervention on care process (documented rates of SBI) and outcome (proportion of patients with problem alcohol use at the follow-up). A stratified random sampling method will be used to select general practices based on the level of training for providing addiction-related care and geographical area. In this study, general practitioners and practice staff, researchers, and trainers will not be blinded to treatment, but patients and remote randomizers will be unaware of the treatment.
This study is ongoing and a protocol system is being developed for the study. This study may inform future research among the high-risk population of problem drug users by providing initial indications as to whether psychosocial interventions for problem alcohol use are feasible, acceptable, and also effective among problem drug users attending primary care.
This is the first study to examine the feasibility and acceptability of complex intervention in primary care to enhance alcohol SBI among problem drug users. Results of this study will inform future research among this high-risk population and guide policy and service development locally and internationally.
complex intervention; screening; brief intervention; alcohol; methadone maintenance; primary health care; general practice; substance-related disorders
The European level of alcohol consumption, and the subsequent burden of disease, is high compared to the rest of the world. While screening and brief interventions in primary healthcare are cost-effective, in most countries they have hardly been implemented in routine primary healthcare. In this study, we aim to examine the effectiveness and efficiency of three implementation interventions that have been chosen to address key barriers for improvement: training and support to address lack of knowledge and motivation in healthcare providers; financial reimbursement to compensate the time investment; and internet-based counselling to reduce workload for primary care providers.
In a cluster randomized factorial trial, data from Catalan, English, Netherlands, Polish, and Swedish primary healthcare units will be collected on screening and brief advice rates for hazardous and harmful alcohol consumption. The three implementation strategies will be provided separately and in combination in a total of seven intervention groups and compared with a treatment as usual control group. Screening and brief intervention activities will be measured at baseline, during 12 weeks and after six months. Process measures include health professionals’ role security and therapeutic commitment of the participating providers (SAAPPQ questionnaire). A total of 120 primary healthcare units will be included, equally distributed over the five countries. Both intention to treat and per protocol analyses are planned to determine intervention effectiveness, using random coefficient regression modelling.
Effective interventions to implement screening and brief interventions for hazardous alcohol use are urgently required. This international multi-centre trial will provide evidence to guide decision makers.
ClinicalTrials.gov. Trial identifier: NCT01501552
Alcohol; Screening; Brief interventions; Primary healthcare; Training and support; Financial reimbursement; Internet; Implementation
Due to limited reporting of intervention rationale, little is known about what distinguishes a good intervention from a poor one. To support improved design, there is a need for comprehensive reports on novel and complex theory-based interventions. Specifically, the emerging trend of just-in-time tailoring of content in response to change in target behavior or emotional state is promising.
The objective of this study was to give a systematic and comprehensive description of the treatment rationale of an online alcohol intervention called Balance.
We used the intervention mapping protocol to describe the treatment rationale of Balance. The intervention targets at-risk drinking, and it is delivered by email, mobile phone text messaging, and tailored interactive webpages combining text, pictures, and prerecorded audio.
The rationale of the current treatment was derived from a self-regulation perspective, and the overarching idea was to support continued self-regulation throughout the behavior change process. Maintaining the change efforts over time and coping adaptively during critical moments (eg, immediately before and after a lapse) are key factors to successful behavior change. Important elements of the treatment rationale to achieving these elements were: (1) emotion regulation as an inoculation strategy against self-regulation failure, (2) avoiding lapses by adaptive coping, and (3) avoiding relapse by resuming the change efforts after a lapse. Two distinct and complementary delivery strategies were used, including a day-to-day tunnel approach in combination with just-in-time therapy. The tunnel strategy was in accordance with the need for continuous self-regulation and it functions as a platform from which just-in-time therapy was launched. Just-in-time therapy was used to support coping during critical moments, and started when the client reports either low self-efficacy or that they were drinking above target levels.
The descriptions of the treatment rationale for Balance, the alcohol intervention reported herein, provides an intervention blueprint that will aid in interpreting the results from future program evaluations. It will ease comparisons of program rationales across interventions, and may assist intervention development. By putting just-in-time therapy within a complete theoretical and practical context, including the tunnel delivery strategy and the self-regulation perspective, we have contributed to an understanding of how multiple delivery strategies in eHealth interventions can be combined. Additionally, this is a call for action to improve the reporting practices within eHealth research. Possible ways to achieve such improvement include using a systematic and structured approach, and for intervention reports to be published after peer-review and separately from evaluation reports.
early intervention; at-risk drinkers; hazardous drinking; harmful drinking; intervention mapping; Internet, cell phone, eHealth, short message service
University students in Sweden routinely receive proactive mail-based alcohol Internet interventions sent from student health services. This intervention provides personalized normative feedback on alcohol consumption with suggestions on how to decrease drinking. Earlier feasibility trials by our group and others have examined effectiveness in simple parallel-groups designs.
To evaluate the effectiveness of electronic screening and brief intervention, using a randomized controlled trial design that takes account of baseline assessment reactivity (and other possible effects of the research process) due to the similarity between the intervention and assessment content. The design of the study allowed for exploration of the magnitude of the assessment effects per se.
This trial used a dismantling design and randomly assigned 5227 students to 3 groups: (1) routine practice assessment and feedback, (2) assessment-only without feedback, and (3) neither assessment nor feedback. At baseline all participants were blinded to study participation, with no contact being made with group 3. We approached students 2 months later to participate in a cross-sectional alcohol survey. All interventions were fully automated and did not have any human involvement. All data used in the analysis were based on self-assessment using questionnaires. The participants were unaware that they were participating in a trial and thus were also blinded to which group they were randomly assigned.
Overall, 44.69% (n = 2336) of those targeted for study completed follow-up. Attrition was similar in groups 1 (697/1742, 40.01%) and 2 (737/1742, 42.31% retained) and lower in group 3 (902/1743, 51.75% retained). Intention-to-treat analyses among all participants regardless of their baseline drinking status revealed no differences between groups in all alcohol parameters at the 2-month follow-up. Per-protocol analyses of groups 1 and 2 among those who accepted the email intervention (36.2% of the students who were offered the intervention in group 1 and 37.3% of the students in group2 ) and who were risky drinkers at baseline (60.7% follow-up rate in group 1 and 63.5% in group 2) suggested possible small beneficial effects on weekly consumption attributable to feedback.
This approach to outcome evaluation is highly conservative, and small benefits may follow the actual uptake of feedback intervention in students who are risky drinkers, the precise target group.
International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number (ISRCTN): 24735383; http://www.controlled-trials.com/ISRCTN24735383 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6Awq7gjXG)
Alcohol drinking; Web-based intervention; proactive intervention; university students
Alcohol causes huge problems for population health and for society, which require interventions with individuals as well as populations to prevent and reduce harms. Brief interventions can be effective and increasingly take advantage of the internet to reach high-risk groups such as students. The research literature on the effectiveness of online interventions is developing rapidly and is confronted by methodological challenges common to other areas of e-health including attrition and assessment reactivity and in the design of control conditions.
The study aim is to evaluate the effectiveness of a brief online intervention, employing a randomized controlled trial (RCT) design that takes account of baseline assessment reactivity, and other possible effects of the research process. Outcomes will be evaluated after 3 months both among student populations as a whole including for a randomized no contact control group and among those who are risky drinkers randomized to brief assessment and feedback (routine practice) or to brief assessment only. A three-arm parallel groups trial will also allow exploration of the magnitude of the feedback and assessment component effects. The trial will be undertaken simultaneously in 2 universities randomizing approximately 15,300 students who will all be blinded to trial participation. All participants will be offered routine practice intervention at the end of the study.
This trial informs the development of routine service delivery in Swedish universities and more broadly contributes a new approach to the study of the effectiveness of online interventions in student populations, with relevance to behaviors other than alcohol consumption. The use of blinding and deception in this study raise ethical issues that warrant further attention.
To analyse patients’ self-reported reasons for not adhering to physical activity referrals (PARs).
Design and setting
Data on 1358 patients who did not adhere to PARs were collected at 38 primary health care (PHC) centres in Sweden.
PHC providers issued formal physical activity prescriptions for home-based activities or referrals for facility-based activities.
Ordinary PHC patients whom regular staff believed would benefit from increased physical activity.
Main outcome measure
Reasons for non-adherence to PARs: “sickness”, “pain”, “low motivation”, “no time”, “economic factors”, and “other”.
Sickness and pain were the most common motives for non-adherence among older patients. The youngest patients blamed economic factors and lack of time more frequently than those in the oldest age group. Economic factors was a more common reason for non-adherence among those referred for facility-based activities compared with those prescribed home-based activities. Low motivation was a more frequent cause of non-adherence among those prescribed home-based activities compared with those referred for facility-based activities. Furthermore, lack of time was a more common reason for non-adherence among patients issued with PARs due to high blood pressure than other patients, while low motivation was a more common reason among patients issued with PARs because of a BMI of > 25.
The reasons for non-adherence differ between patients prescribed home-based activities and referred for facility-based activities, as well as between patients with different specific characteristics. The information obtained may be valuable not only for the professionals working in PHC, but also for those who work to develop PARs for use in different contexts.
Adherence; exercise; lifestyle; health promotion; prescription; primary prevention
Interactive behavior change technology (eg, computer programs, Internet websites, and mobile phones) may facilitate the implementation of lifestyle behavior interventions in routine primary health care. Effective, fully automated solutions not involving primary health care staff may offer low-cost support for behavior change.
We explored the effectiveness of an electronic screening and brief intervention (e-SBI) deployed through a stand-alone information kiosk for promoting physical activity among sedentary patients in routine primary health care. We further tested whether its effectiveness differed between patients performing the e-SBI on their own initiative and those referred to it by primary health care staff.
The e-SBI screens for the physical activity level, motivation to change, attitudes toward performing the test, and physical characteristics and provides tailored feedback supporting behavior change. A total of 7863 patients performed the e-SBI from 2007 through 2009 in routine primary health care in Östergötland County, Sweden. Of these, 2509 were considered not sufficiently physically active, and 311 of these 2509 patients agreed to participate in an optional 3-month follow-up. These 311 patients were included in the analysis and were further divided into two groups based on whether the e-SBI was performed on the patient´s own initiative (informed by posters in the waiting room) or if the patient was referred to it by staff. A physical activity score representing the number of days being physically active was compared between baseline e-SBI and the 3-month follow-up. Based on physical activity recommendations, a score of 5 was considered the cutoff for being sufficiently physically active.
In all, 137 of 311 patients (44%) were sufficiently physically active at the 3-month follow-up. The proportion becoming sufficiently physically active was 16/55 (29%), 40/101 (40%), and 81/155 (52%) for patients with a physical activity score at baseline of 0, 1 to 2, and 3 to 4, respectively. The patient-initiated group and staff-referred group had similar mean physical activity scores at baseline (2.1, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.8-2.3, versus 2.3, 95% CI 2.1-2.5) and at follow-up, (4.1, 95% CI 3.4-4.7, vs 4.2, 95% CI 3.7-4.8).
Among the sedentary patients in primary health care who participated in the follow-up, the e-SBI appeared effective at promoting short-term improvement of physical activity for about half of them. The results were similar when the e-SBI was patient-initiated or staff-referred. The e-SBI may be a low-cost complement to lifestyle behavior interventions in routine primary health care and could work as a stand-alone technique not requiring the involvment of primary health care staff.
Computer-tailored; eHealth; lifestyle behavior; exercise; automated
In recent years, interventions that deliver online personalized feedback on alcohol use have been developed and appear to be a feasible way to curb heavy drinking. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) among the general adult population, however, are scarce. The present study offers an RCT of Drinktest.nl, an online personalized feedback intervention in the Netherlands.
The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of computer-based personalized feedback on heavy alcohol use in male adults.
Randomization stratified by age and educational level was used to assign participants to either the intervention consisting of online personalized feedback or an information-only control condition. Participants were told as a cover story that they would evaluate newly developed health education materials. Participants were males (n = 450), aged 18 to 65 years, presenting with either heavy alcohol use (> 20 units of alcohol weekly) and/or binge drinking (> 5 units of alcohol at a single occasion at least 1 day per week) in the past 6 months. They were selected with a screener from a sampling frame of 25,000 households. The primary outcome measure was the percentage of the participants that had successfully reduced their drinking levels to below the Dutch guideline threshold for at-risk drinking.
Intention-to-treat analysis showed that in the experimental condition, 42% (97/230) of the participants were successful in reducing their drinking levels to below the threshold at the 1-month follow-up as compared with 31% (67/220) in the control group (odds ratio [OR] = 1.7, number needed to treat [NNT] = 8.6), which was statistically significant (χ2
1 = 6.67, P = .01). At the 6-month follow-up, the success rates were 46% (105/230) and 37% (82/220) in the experimental and control conditions, respectively (OR = 1.4, NNT = 11.9), but no longer statistically significant (χ2
1 = 3.25, P = .07).
Personalized online feedback on alcohol consumption appears to be an effective and easy way to change unhealthy drinking patterns in adult men, at least in the short-term.
International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number: NTR836; http://www.trialregister.nl/trialreg/admin/rctview.asp?TC=836 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/5ytnEz2vp)
Web-based personalized feedback; alcohol; Internet; heavy drinking; problem drinking; adult
The aim of this paper was to evaluate whether primary health care staff's referral of patients to perform an electronic screening and brief intervention (e-SBI) for alcohol use had a greater impact on change in alcohol consumption after 3 month, compared to patients who performed the test on their own initiative. Staff-referred responders reported reduced weekly alcohol consumption with an average decrease of 8.4 grams. In contrast, self-referred responders reported an average increase in weekly alcohol consumption of 2.4 grams. Staff-referred responders reported a 49% reduction of average number of heavy episodic drinking (HED) occasions per month. The corresponding reduction for self-referred responders was 62%. The differences between staff- and self-referred patient groups in the number who moved from risky drinking to nonrisky drinking at the followup were not statistically significant. Our results indicate that standalone computers with touchscreens that provide e-SBIs for risky drinking have the same effect on drinking behaviour in both staff-referred patients and self-referred patients.
There has been a significant increase in the availability of online programs for alcohol problems. A systematic review of the research evidence underpinning these programs is timely.
Our objective was to review the efficacy of online interventions for alcohol misuse.
Systematic searches of Medline, PsycINFO, Web of Science, and Scopus were conducted for English abstracts (excluding dissertations) published from 1998 onward. Search terms were: (1) Internet, Web*; (2) online, computer*; (3) alcohol*; and (4) E\effect*, trial*, random* (where * denotes a wildcard). Forward and backward searches from identified papers were also conducted. Articles were included if (1) the primary intervention was delivered and accessed via the Internet, (2) the intervention focused on moderating or stopping alcohol consumption, and (3) the study was a randomized controlled trial of an alcohol-related screen, assessment, or intervention.
The literature search initially yielded 31 randomized controlled trials (RCTs), 17 of which met inclusion criteria. Of these 17 studies, 12 (70.6%) were conducted with university students, and 11 (64.7%) specifically focused on at-risk, heavy, or binge drinkers. Sample sizes ranged from 40 to 3216 (median 261), with 12 (70.6%) studies predominantly involving brief personalized feedback interventions. Using published data, effect sizes could be extracted from 8 of the 17 studies. In relation to alcohol units per week or month and based on 5 RCTs where a measure of alcohol units per week or month could be extracted, differential effect sizes to posttreatment ranged from 0.02 to 0.81 (mean 0.42, median 0.54). Pre-post effect sizes for brief personalized feedback interventions ranged from 0.02 to 0.81, and in 2 multi-session modularized interventions, a pre-post effect size of 0.56 was obtained in both. Pre-post differential effect sizes for peak blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) ranged from 0.22 to 0.88, with a mean effect size of 0.66.
The available evidence suggests that users can benefit from online alcohol interventions and that this approach could be particularly useful for groups less likely to access traditional alcohol-related services, such as women, young people, and at-risk users. However, caution should be exercised given the limited number of studies allowing extraction of effect sizes, the heterogeneity of outcome measures and follow-up periods, and the large proportion of student-based studies. More extensive RCTs in community samples are required to better understand the efficacy of specific online alcohol approaches, program dosage, the additive effect of telephone or face-to-face interventions, and effective strategies for their dissemination and marketing.
Alcohol; drugs; Internet; physical health; website interactivity; online treatment; online information
Bridging the knowledge-to-practice gap in health care is an important issue that has gained interest in recent years. Implementing new methods, guidelines or tools into routine care, however, is a slow and unpredictable process, and the factors that play a role in the change process are not yet fully understood. There is a number of theories concerned with factors predicting successful implementation in various settings, however, this issue is insufficiently studied in primary health care (PHC). The objective of this article was to apply implementation theory to identify key factors influencing the adoption of an innovation being introduced in PHC in Sweden.
A qualitative study was carried out with staff at six PHC units in Sweden where a computer-based test for lifestyle intervention had been implemented. Two different implementation strategies, implicit or explicit, were used. Sixteen focus group interviews and two individual interviews were performed. In the analysis a theoretical framework based on studies of implementation in health service organizations, was applied to identify key factors influencing adoption.
The theoretical framework proved to be relevant for studies in PHC. Adoption was positively influenced by positive expectations at the unit, perceptions of the innovation being compatible with existing routines and perceived advantages. An explicit implementation strategy and positive opinions on change and innovation were also associated with adoption. Organizational changes and staff shortages coinciding with implementation seemed to be obstacles for the adoption process.
When implementation theory obtained from studies in other areas was applied in PHC it proved to be relevant for this particular setting. Based on our results, factors to be taken into account in the planning of the implementation of a new tool in PHC should include assessment of staff expectations, assessment of the perceived need for the innovation to be implemented, and of its potential compatibility with existing routines. Regarding context, we suggest that implementation concurrent with other major organizational changes should be avoided. The choice of implementation strategy should be given thorough consideration.
Written prescriptions of physical activity have increased in popularity. Such schemes have mostly been evaluated in terms of efficacy in clinical trials. This study reports on a physical activity prescription referral scheme implemented in routine primary health care (PHC) in Sweden. The aim of this study was to evaluate patients' self-reported adherence to physical activity prescriptions at 3 and 12 months and to analyse different characteristics associated with adherence to these prescriptions.
Prospective prescription data were obtained for the general population in 37 of 42 PHC centres in Östergötland County, during 2004. The study population consisted of 3300.
The average adherence rate to the prescribed activity was 56% at 3 months and 50% at 12 months. In the multiple logistic regression models, higher adherence was associated with higher activity level at baseline and with prescriptions including home-based activities.
Prescription from ordinary PHC staff yielded adherence in half of the patients in this PAR scheme follow-up.
Health care providers in many countries have delivered interventions to improve physical activity levels among their patients. Thus far, less is known about the population's interest to increase their physical activity levels and their opinion about the health care provider's role in physical activity promotion. The aims of this paper were to investigate the self-reported physical activity levels of the population and intention to increase physical activity levels, self-perceived need for support, and opinions about the responsibilities of both individuals and health care providers to promote physical activity.
A regional public health survey was mailed to 13 440 adults (aged 18-84 years) living in Östergötland County (Sweden) in 2006. The survey was part of the regular effort by the regional Health Authorities.
About 25% of the population was categorised as physically active, 38% as moderately active, 27% as somewhat active, and 11% as low active. More than one-third (37%) had no intentions to increase their physical activity levels, 36% had thought about change, while 27% were determined to change. Lower intention to change was mainly associated with increased age and lower education levels. 28% answered that physical activity was the most important health-related behaviour to change "right now" and 15% of those answered that they wanted or needed support to make this change. Of respondents who might be assumed to be in greatest need of increased activity (i.e. respondents reporting poor general health, BMI>30, and inactivity) more than one-quarter wanted support to make improvements to their health. About half of the respondents who wanted support to increase their physical activity levels listed health care providers as a primary source for support.
These findings suggest that there is considerable need for physical activity interventions in this population. Adults feel great responsibility for their own physical activity levels, but also attribute responsibility for promoting increased physical activity to health care practitioners.
Electronic-based alcohol screening and brief interventions for university students with problem drinking behaviours forms an important means by which to identify risky drinkers.
In this study an e-SBI project was implemented to assess drinking patterns, and to provide personalised feedback about alcohol consumption and related health problems, to students in a Swedish university. In this study, third semester university students (n = 2858) from all faculties (colleges) at the University were invited to participate in e-SBI screenings. This study employed a randomised controlled trial, with respondents having a equal chance of being assigned to a limited, or full-feedback response.
The study shows that high risk drinkers tend to underestimate their own consumption compared to others, and that these high risk drinkers experience more negative consequences after alcohol intake, than other respondents. There was a strong belief, for both high- and low-risk drinkers, that alcohol helped celebrations be more festive. This study also confirms findings from other study locations that while males drank more than females in our study population; females reached the same peak alcohol blood concentrations as males.
Obtaining clear and current information on drinking patterns demonstrated by university students can help public health officials, university administration, and local health care providers develop appropriate prevention and treatment strategies.
Computer-based health-risk assessments are electronic surveys which can be completed by patients privately, for example during their waiting time in a clinic, generating a risk report for the clinician and a recommendation sheet for the patient at the point of care. Despite increasing popularity of such computer-based health-risk assessments, patient attitudes toward such tools are rarely evaluated by reliable and valid scales. The lack of psychometric appraisal of appropriate scales is an obstacle to advancing the field.
This study evaluated the psychometric properties of a 14-item Computerized Lifestyle Assessment Scale (CLAS).
Out of 212 female patients receiving the study information at a family practice clinic, 202 completed a paper questionnaire, for a response rate of 97.6%. After 2 weeks, 52 patients completed the scale a second time.
Principal component analysis revealed that CLAS is a multidimensional scale consisting of four subscales (factors): (1) Benefits: patient-perceived benefits toward the quality of medical consultation and means of achieving them, (2) Privacy-Barrier: concerns about information privacy, (3) Interaction-Barrier: concerns about potential interference in their interaction with the physician, and (4) Interest: patient interest in computer-assisted health assessments. Each subscale had good internal consistency reliability ranging from .50 (2-item scale) to .85 (6-item scale). The study also provided evidence of scale stability over time with intraclass correlation coefficients of .91, .82, .86, and .67 for the four subscales, respectively. Construct validity was supported by concurrent hypotheses testing.
The CLAS is a promising approach for evaluating patients’ attitudes toward computer-based health-risk assessments.
Computers; scale; psychometric; screening; risk assessment; family practice
Assessment of health-related quality of life is so far mainly used in specific research settings and not widely accepted in the routine care of patients. Lack of trust in accuracy and reliability and lack of knowledge concerning the questionnaires used, methods, terminology, are just some of the perceived barriers for a more widespread dissemination of these instruments into routine health care. The present study was undertaken in order to test the feasibility of a computerised system for collecting and analysing health-related quality of life in a routine clinical setting and to examine the thoughts and attitudes among physicians concerning the value of these measurements.
Seventy-four patients with chronic pulmonary lung disease were asked to assess their health-related quality of life with a computerised version of the SF-36 questionnaire before a regular the visit to a physician. The results were immediately available for the physician during the consultation for comparison of information given by the patients and the physician's evaluation of the patients overall health status. A focus group interview with the physicians was performed before and after the implementation of routine measurements of health-related quality of life.
The systematic assessment concept worked satisfactorily. All patients approached agreed to participate and completed the assessment on the touch screen computer. A weak correlation was found between patients' self-rated health and pulmonary function and between physicians' evaluation and pulmonary function. The physicians appreciated the SF-36 assessments and the value of the patients' perspective although only a few could pinpoint new clinical decisions based upon this new information.
Physicians' clinical evaluation and patients' self-rating of health status offer unique and important information that are complementary.
Health-related quality of life; routine care; and physicians' perceived value
Some public health behavioral intervention research studies involve deception. A methodological imperative to minimize bias can be in conflict with the ethical principle of informed consent. As a case study, we examine the specific forms of deception used in three online randomized controlled trials evaluating brief alcohol interventions. We elaborate our own decision making about the use of deception in these trials, and present our ongoing findings and uncertainties. We discuss the value of the approach of pragmatism for examining these kinds of ethical issues that can arise in research on public health interventions.
public health; research ethics