The term, brief intervention, encompasses a number of responses by the provider to the patient following screening. This is a conversation in which the healthcare provider understands level of risk indicated by the results of the screening, a patient’s readiness to change, a patient’s specific needs and life circumstances, and the need for follow up to actively facilitate positive change.
Brief Intervention encompasses positive reinforcement, brief advice and brief intervention, lasting from a few minutes to several conversations with the provider, as described below. Brief intervention is not treatment. It is a patient-centered response, ideally a conversation between the healthcare provider and patient, that utilizes motivational interviewing techniques to:
- Educate regarding safe(r) levels of use.
- Increase awareness of the (potential) health consequences of current use.
- Motivate towards changing risky using behavior.
- Support the patient in making choices that reduce their risk of problems related to substance use and/or developing a chronic substance use disorder.
|Purpose of Play 6||To understand Brief Intervention as part of the S·BI·RT process.|
When a youth screens as “no current use,” this is a negative screen. Positive reinforcement is an important acknowledgement of healthy behavior. It can be as simple for younger adolescents as “I see that you report not using any alcohol or other drugs. Most people your age do not, and I’m really glad to see you are making this choice for your health and safety.” For later adolescence, a provider may inquire, “Do you have friends that have used alcohol or other drugs? What do you say to them to let them know you do not want to?” This unique prevention opportunity is a key benefit of the S·BI·RT approach.
|Team members||All team members need to understand what brief intervention encompasses. This is vital to later integration of documentation into the EHR and determination
- Review recommended brief intervention techniques and tools for the chosen population. Example Brief Intervention Dialogue is available in Appendix J.
- Discuss potential pros/cons of suggested brief intervention techniques and impacts on flow. For example, how long is the screening process, who is conducting the BI, how is documentation done, and how is follow captured?
- Brief intervention by the medical practitioner is ideal – if flow and resources can accommodate.
- Training in brief intervention is imperative to receive consistent quality results. Brief Intervention Tools are available in Appendix K.
Keep In Mind
- Consultation and training on brief intervention is available through the Center.
- Techniques are evidence-based and incorporate motivational interviewing techniques. MOTIVATIONAL INTERVIEWING EXPERTISE IS NOT REQUIRED.
- Confidentiality considerations must be incorporated into every step of the brief intervention process. Where is the BI information documented in EHR? How is follow-up appointment scheduling explained to the parent?
- Remember, the screening tools augment but do not replace a provider’s clinical judgement and knowledge of the youth and family. For some youth, infrequent substance use may require brief intervention more than brief advice.