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1. Identify screening tool and protocol

Choosing the appropriate screening tool for your population and how it is administered are of vital importance for successful implementation.  These decisions need to be made prior to implementation to ensure providers are put in a position to succeed.

Some questions to consider while identifying proper screening tool(s) and protocol(s) include:

  • How exactly will the screening occur? On paper? On an eTablet? Face to face questions?
  • Who does the screening?  MA? RN? Provider?
  • What is their script for doing the screening or asking follow up questions?
  • When and where is the screening done? During the visit in the exam room? Before the visit on an eTablet in the waiting room?
  • How is the screening documented?

2. Evaluate current screening protocols for baseline data

It is important to begin the implementation process knowing where your practice currently stands.  Baseline data on currently used screens and protocol can help you gauge where your practice currently stands with identification and treatment of substance use disorders.  As your practice implements SBIRT, you will be able to document your journey from the very beginning.

Possible methods for baseline data collection may include:

  • Raw screening numbers (e.g. total number of target population currently screened for substance use disorders)
  • Raw treatment numbers (e.g. total number of target population referred to treatment for substance use disorder)
  • Exit surveys for patients who were screened by provider to gauge quality of the interaction

3. Train providers in appropriate intervention techniques

When a young person screens as being at moderate risk, the initial response takes place in real time during the visit with a brief intervention.  Training your providers in proven and effective techniques, such as motivational interviewing or brief intervention, will equip them with the skills that are necessary to confidently treat the target population.

Essential SBIRT Treatment Techniques:

Available Trainings

4. Determine the role of technology

As health care providers continue to embed Electronic Health Records (EHRs) into their every day practice, it is important to consider how the implementation of SBIRT will be incorporated into such systems.  The use of tablets for screening has shown to be effective  in encouraging truthfulness among respondents and efficiency in terms of practice flow.

Continue to Step 3: Implement »