A randomized controlled non-inferiority trial of primary care-based facilitated access to an alcohol reduction website (EFAR-FVG): preliminary results
© Struzzo et al. 2015
Published: 24 September 2015
The effectiveness of brief interventions for risky drinkers by GPs is well documented. However, implementation levels remain low. Facilitated access to an alcohol reduction website offers an alternative to standard face-to-face intervention, but it is unclear whether it is as effective. This study evaluates whether online brief intervention, through GP facilitated access to an alcohol reduction website for risky drinkers, is not inferior to the face-to-face brief intervention conducted by GPs.
Material and methods
In a northern Italy region participating GPs actively encouraged all patients age 18 attending their practice, to access an online screening website based on AUDIT-C. Those screening positive underwent a baseline assessment with the AUDIT-10 and EQ-5D questionnaires and subsequently, were randomly assigned to receive either online counselling on the alcohol reduction website (intervention) or face-to-face intervention based on the brief motivational interview by their GP (control). Follow-up took place at 3 and 12 months and the outcome was calculated on the basis of the proportion of risky drinkers in each group according to the AUDIT-10.
More than 50% (n= 3974) of the patients who received facilitated access logged-on to the website and completed the AUDIT-C. Just under 20% (n = 718) screened positive and 94% (n= 674) of them completed the baseline questionnaires and were randomized. Of the 310 patients randomized to the experimental Internet intervention, 90% (n = 278) logged-on to the site. Of the 364 patients of the control group, 72% (263) were seen by their GP. A follow-up rate of 94% was achieved at 3 months.
The offer of GP facilitated access to an alcohol reduction website appears to be an effective way of identifying risky drinkers and enabling them to receive brief intervention.
This work is jointly supported by the Italian Ministry of Health and by the regional school for the training in Primary Care of the Region Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy.
(Grant number: D25E12002900003). On behalf of the EFAR Study Group.
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