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International Journal of Telemedicine and Applications
Volume 2011, Article ID 918763, 10 pages
Research Article

Referral to an Electronic Screening and Brief Alcohol Intervention in Primary Health Care in Sweden: Impact of Staff Referral to the Computer

1Division of Community Medicine, Department of Medical and Health Science, Linköping University, 58381 Linköping, Sweden
2Department of Medicine (MSK), Motala Hospital, 591 85 Motala, Sweden
3Department of Public Health Science, Faculty of Social and Life Sciences, Karlstad University, 651 88 Karlstad, Sweden
4Department of Health and Culture, University West, 46186 Trollhättan, Sweden
5R&D Department of Local Health Care, County Council of Östergötland, Linköping University, 582 85 Linköping, Sweden

Received 4 August 2010; Revised 28 October 2010; Accepted 17 February 2011

Academic Editor: Ron A. Winkens

Copyright © 2011 Preben Bendtsen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The aim of this paper was to evaluate whether primary health care staff's referral of patients to perform an electronic screening and brief intervention (e-SBI) for alcohol use had a greater impact on change in alcohol consumption after 3 month, compared to patients who performed the test on their own initiative. Staff-referred responders reported reduced weekly alcohol consumption with an average decrease of 8.4 grams. In contrast, self-referred responders reported an average increase in weekly alcohol consumption of 2.4 grams. Staff-referred responders reported a 49% reduction of average number of heavy episodic drinking (HED) occasions per month. The corresponding reduction for self-referred responders was 62%. The differences between staff- and self-referred patient groups in the number who moved from risky drinking to nonrisky drinking at the followup were not statistically significant. Our results indicate that standalone computers with touchscreens that provide e-SBIs for risky drinking have the same effect on drinking behaviour in both staff-referred patients and self-referred patients.