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Provider Training for Patient-Centered Alcohol Counseling in a Primary Care Setting

Judith K. Ockene, PhD; Elizabeth V. Wheeler, PhD; Abigail Adams, MD; Thomas G. Hurley, MS; James Hebert, ScD
Arch Intern Med. 1997;157(20):2334-2341. doi:10.1001/archinte.1997.00440410066007.
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Objective:  To assess the impact of a brief training program on primary care providers' skills, attitudes, and knowledge regarding high-risk and problem drinking.

Design:  Training plus pretesting and posttesting for program efficacy.

Setting:  Ambulatory primary care clinic; academic medical center.

Participants:  Fourteen attending physicians, 12 residents, and 5 nurse practitioners were randomized by clinical team affiliation to a Special Intervention or usual care condition of a larger study. We report the results of the training program for the Special Intervention providers.

Intervention:  Providers received a 2-hour group training session plus a 10- to 20-minute individual tutorial session 2 to 6 weeks after the group session. The training focused on teaching providers how to perform patient-centered counseling for high-risk and problem drinkers.

Main Outcome Measures:  Alcohol counseling skills; attitudes regarding preparedness to intervene and perceived importance and usefulness of intervening with high-risk and problem drinkers; and knowledge of the nature, prevalence, and appropriate treatment of alcohol abuse in primary care populations.

Results:  After training, providers scored significantly higher on measures of counseling skills, preparedness to intervene, perceived usefulness and importance of intervening, and knowledge.

Conclusion:  A group training program plus brief individual feedback can significantly improve primary care providers' counseling skills, attitudes, and knowledge regarding high-risk and problem drinkers.Arch Intern Med. 1997;157:2334-2341


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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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