Adolescent SBIRT implementation: Generalist vs. Specialist models of service delivery in primary care

Apr 01, 2020 | Mitchell

BACKGROUND: Drug, alcohol, and tobacco use among adolescents pose significant short- and long-term health consequences and are associated with more severe use as adults. Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment in primary care settings has the potential to deliver preventive interventions to a diverse range of adolescents, but optimal implementation of these services needs to be determined. The purpose of this study was to compare implementation of two different SBIRT service delivery models in primary care settings.

METHODS: This cluster-randomized trial assigned 7 primary care clinics of a federally qualified health center to implement brief interventions (BI) using a Generalist model (4 sites), in which BIs were delivered by the primary care provider (PCP), or a Specialist model (3 sites), in which BIs were delivered by a behavioral health counselor (BHC) for adolescent patients ages 12-17 years. Implementation was tracked through the clinic’s electronic health record, spanning 9639 clinic visits over 20 months. Multilevel logistic regression modeling was used to compare Generalist and Specialist strategies on penetration of BI for patients scoring >/=2 on the CRAFFT substance use screen, delivered by the PCP in the Generalist sites, and via warm hand-off to a BHC in the Specialist sites.

RESULTS: Approximately 62% of adolescent patient visits were screened with the CRAFFT (with <4% screening positive with a CRAFFT score >/= 2). The Generalist Condition had significantly higher self-reported penetration of BI delivery than the Specialist Condition (38% vs. 8%; Adjusted Odds Ratio = 6.53; p = .005).

DISCUSSION: Despite having co-located behavioral health services at all sites, a Specialist approach to providing BI was less effectively implemented than a Generalist approach in this FQHC. BI delivered by PCPs rather than by hand-off to a BHC may ensure greater penetration of these services in primary care settings. Both implementation models provided a framework for identifying and intervening with adolescent primary care patients whose substance use might have otherwise gone undetected.

PubMed Abstract

Mitchell, S. G., Gryczynski, J., Schwartz, R. P., Kirk, A. S., Dusek, K., Oros, M., . . . Brown, B. S. (2020). Adolescent SBIRT implementation: Generalist vs. Specialist models of service delivery in primary care. J Subst Abuse Treat, 111, 67-72. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2020.01.007