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Implementing standardized substance use disorder screening in primary care

Jones, Quinnette, MSW, LCSW, MHS, PA-C; Johnston, Barbara, MD, FACP; Biola, Holly, MD, MPH; Gomez, Sandra, RN, MSN, MPA; Crowder, Carolyn, MSW, LCSW, LCAS

Journal of the American Academy of PAs: October 2018 - Volume 31 - Issue 10 - p 42–45
doi: 10.1097/01.JAA.0000511792.75301.73
Research Article

Objectives: This quality improvement initiative aimed to develop and implement a protocol for an alcohol and substance use disorder screening for primary care.

Methods: The Two Item Conjoint Screen was selected and a process was piloted by care teams. Quality improvement tools were used to improve the protocol. Primary care providers (PCPs) were surveyed about their use of the screening protocol in the primary care setting. Data on total number of screenings were collected through the electronic health record.

Results: Implementation resulted in more than 30,000 screenings completed in 2016. PCP survey results indicated that PCPs felt screening was helpful in identifying potential substance use problems (100%) and that most providers (76%) felt that overall patient care improved after screening was initiated.

Conclusions: Brief alcohol and substance use disorder screenings can be easily implemented and well integrated into primary care settings. PCPs found screenings to be valuable in caring for patients.

Quinnette Jones is a medical instructor in the PA program at Duke University in Durham, N.C. Barbara Johnston is chief of HIV services at Lincoln Community Health Center and an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Medicine at Duke Health, both in Durham, N.C. Also at Lincoln Community Health Center, Holly Biola is chief of family medicine and physician quality improvement champion, Sandra Gomez is a satellite clinic administrator, and Carolyn Crowder is director of behavioral health. The authors have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

Acknowledgments: The authors would like to thank the North Carolina Medical Society's Clinical Quality Program for quality improvement training for the project team.

Copyright © 2018 American Academy of Physician Assistants
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