Researchers from University of California, Irvine (UCI), found an automated, bilingual, computerized alcohol screening and intervention (AB-CASI) health tool to be effective in reducing alcohol use among Latino emergency department patients.
Alcohol use disorders are associated with a high disease burden among Latinos in the United States. Bilingual and culturally sensitive interventions are needed to reduce the disease burden.
“Our aim was to overcome well-known barriers to alcohol screening and intervention from the emergency department while addressing the high disease burden and health disparities related to alcohol use disorders in this population,” said Federico Vaca, MD, lead author and UCI professor of emergency medicine in a UCI news release.
Published in JAMA Network Open, the study included 840 self-identified Latinos with unhealthy drinking habits. For those randomized to the intervention group, researchers used computer tablets to administer AB-CASI, which included the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test and a short negotiation interview. Findings showed that those in the AB-CASI group substantially reduced their number of binge drinking episodes within 28 days compared with those in the standard care group. Although both groups experienced some reduction in alcohol use after one month, those in the AB-CASI group experienced “significant and sustained reductions at the 12-month mark,” according to the news release.
Authors believe that AB-CASI could be a viable approach to addressing alcohol-related health disparities in the emergency department, which they described as “a national health care front line and safety net.”
Excessive alcohol drinking can lead to numerous long-term health risks, including heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, liver disease, memory problems and more, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Our study demonstrated that AB-CASI could be quickly administered in a busy emergency department setting while effectively identifying patients with unhealthy drinking in need of tailored, bilingual, brief intervention,” Vaca said.
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