Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Assessing Drinking Issues And Delivering Brief Interventions Via Texts

 

Student texting during class

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From the 28 December 2011 Medical News Today article

Each day numerous young adults in the U.S. visit hospital emergency departments (EDs) for alcohol-related problems. This study examined the use of text messaging (TM), both to collect drinking data from young adults after ED discharge as well as provide immediate feedback and ongoing support to them, finding that TM is effective on both levels.
Results will be published in the March 2012 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

“Each day in the U.S., more than 50,000 adults 18 to 24 years of age visit hospital EDs, and more than one third report current alcohol abuse or dependence,” said Brian Suffoletto, assistant professor in the department of emergency medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and corresponding author for the study. “Thus, EDs provide a unique opportunity to both identify young adults with harmful or hazardous drinking behavior and intervene to reduce future injury and illness.” …

Unfortunately, he added, emergency-care providers rarely have the time or expertise to screen for or discuss problematic alcohol use. Nor do many hospitals have counselors on staff who can assist with the process. Neither are patients with acute drinking issues necessarily interested in having those discussions immediately.

“Given that mobile phones are essentially ubiquitous among young adults, and texting in particular is a heavily used communication tool, we sought to build and test an automated TM system that could conduct a health dialogue with young adults after discharge,” said Suffoletto. “We believe that our study is the first to test a TM-based behavioral intervention to reduce alcohol consumption.”

“This is a novel approach in that it uses the ED as a behavior-changing point for those at risk for a illness – alcohol-induced injury or organ destruction – while using a familiar but not deployed alternative approach, which is texting,” said Donald M. Yealy, professor of emergency medicine, medicine, and clinical and translational sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “This is a first step. I can envision other tools – such as phone apps and social media sites – being deployed eventually.” …

Read the entire Medical News Today article

December 28, 2011 - Posted by | Consumer Health | , , ,

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