Under the radar

a cross-sectional study of the challenge of identifying at-risk alcohol consumption in the general practice setting

Christine Paul, Sze Lin Yoong, Rob Sanson-Fisher, Mariko Carey, Grant Russell, Meredith Makeham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background Primary care providers are an important source of information regarding appropriate alcohol consumption. As early presentation to a provider for alcohol-related concerns is unlikely, it is important that providers are able to identify at-risk patients in order to provide appropriate advice. This study aimed to report the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value of General Practitioner (GP) assessment of alcohol consumption compared to patient self-report, and explore characteristics associated with GP non-detection of at-risk status. Method GP practices were selected from metropolitan and regional locations in Australia. Eligible patients were adults presenting for general practice care who were able to understand English and provide informed consent. Patients completed a modified AUDIT-C by touchscreen computer as part of an omnibus health survey while waiting for their appointment. GPs completed a checklist for each patient, including whether the patient met current Australian guidelines for at-risk alcohol consumption. Patient self-report and GP assessments were compared for each patient. Results GPs completed the checklist for 1720 patients, yielding 1565 comparisons regarding alcohol consumption. The sensitivity of GPs’ detection of at-risk alcohol consumption was 26.5%, with specificity of 96.1%. Higher patient education was associated with GP non-detection of at-risk status. Conclusions GP awareness of which patients might benefit from advice regarding at-risk alcohol consumption appears low. Given the complexities associated with establishing whether alcohol consumption is ‘at-risk’, computer-based approaches to routine screening of patients are worthy of exploration as a method for prompting the provision of advice in primary care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalBMC Family Practice
Volume15
Issue number74
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • General practice
  • Alcohol
  • Detection
  • Accuracy
  • Sensitivity

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