, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) in primary care is a key strategy to prevent, identify, and respond to substance use
problems and disorders, including opioid and other drug addictions. Despite substantial investment in recent years to increase its implementation, few studies have reported on recent levels of SBIRT implementation among pediatricians. We aimed to assess self-reported use of the SBIRT framework with adolescent patients among Massachusetts pediatricians, and describe trends since an earlier survey.
We analyzed responses to a cross-sectional survey mailed in 2017 to a representative sample of pediatricians in Massachusetts. We computed response frequencies for all SBIRT practice questions. We used the chi-square test to compare current data to data collected in 2014, as we found no demographic differences between the 2 samples.
Nearly all pediatricians in the 2017 sample (n = 160) reported annual screening
of their adolescent patients (99%). The majority reported giving positive reinforcement (87%), brief advice (92%), counseling (90%), and referral to treatment (66%) in response to screen results. Compared with 2014, a significantly higher proportion of pediatricians in 2017 referred patients who screened positively for problematic alcohol
use, but perceived barriers to screening
and follow-up remain, such as insufficient time to screen and patient refusal to return.
Among respondents to a Massachusetts pediatrician survey, we found high rates of delivering SBIRT in accordance with published guidelines, though barriers remain. Whether the content of the counseling adheres to guidelines is unknown.