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      A Digital Tool to Promote Alcohol and Drug Use Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment Skill Translation: A Mobile App Development and Randomized Controlled Trial Protocol


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          Translation of knowledge and skills from classroom settings to clinical practice is a major challenge in healthcare training, especially for behavioral interventions. For example, screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) is a highly-promoted approach to identifying and treating individuals at risk for alcohol or drug problems, yet effective, routine use of SBIRT has lagged.


          The objective of this paper is to describe the development, pilot testing, and trial protocol of a mobile app based on the theory of planned behavior (TPB) to promote SBIRT skill translation and application.


          Intended for use after classroom training occurs, the mobile app has three primary functions designed to increase behavioral intent to deliver SBIRT: (1) review skills (ie, address knowledge and beliefs about SBIRT), (2) apply skills with patients (ie, build confidence and perceived behavioral control), and (3) report performance data (ie, increase accountability and social norms and/or influence). The app includes depression and anxiety screening tools due to high comorbidity with substance use. A randomized controlled trial (RCT) is in progress among health and social service learners (N=200) recruited from 3 universities and 6 different training programs in nursing, social work, internal medicine, psychiatry, and psychology. Participants are randomized to SBIRT classroom instruction alone or classroom instruction plus app access prior to beginning their field placement rotations. TPB-based data are collected via Qualtrics or via the mobile app pre-post and SBIRT utilization, weekly for 10 weeks. Key outcomes include the frequency of and self-reported confidence in delivery of SBIRT.


          Beta testing with advanced practice nursing students (N=22) indicated that the app and its associated assessment tools were acceptable and useful. The system usability scale (SUS) mean was 65.8 (n=19), which indicated that the SBIRT app was acceptable but could benefit from improvement. Indeed, modifications were implemented prior to starting the trial. Enrollment of trial participants began in September 2016. Results are expected by December 2017.


          This report describes the process of TPB-based app development and testing, and the protocol for a RCT to determine the effectiveness of the app in enhancing skill translation. If effective, this approach could improve SBIRT implementation, fidelity, and clinical outcomes.

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          Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT): toward a public health approach to the management of substance abuse.

          Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is a comprehensive and integrated approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services through universal screening for persons with substance use disorders and those at risk. This paper describes research on the components of SBIRT conducted during the past 25 years, including the development of screening tests, clinical trials of brief interventions and implementation research. Beginning in the 1980s, concerted efforts were made in the US and at the World Health Organization to provide an evidence base for alcohol screening and brief intervention in primary health care settings. With the development of reliable and accurate screening tests for alcohol, more than a hundred clinical trials were conducted to evaluate the efficacy and cost effectiveness of alcohol screening and brief intervention in primary care, emergency departments and trauma centers. With the accumulation of positive evidence, implementation research on alcohol SBI was begun in the 1990s, followed by trials of similar methods for other substances (e.g., illicit drugs, tobacco, prescription drugs) and by national demonstration programs in the US and other countries. The results of these efforts demonstrate the cumulative benefit of translational research on health care delivery systems and substance abuse policy. That SBIRT yields short-term improvements in individuals' health is irrefutable; long-term effects on population health have not yet been demonstrated, but simulation models suggest that the benefits could be substantial.
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            Utilizing a Personal Smartphone Custom App to Assess the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) Depressive Symptoms in Patients With Major Depressive Disorder

            Background Accurate reporting of patient symptoms is critical for diagnosis and therapeutic monitoring in psychiatry. Smartphones offer an accessible, low-cost means to collect patient symptoms in real time and aid in care. Objective To investigate adherence among psychiatric outpatients diagnosed with major depressive disorder in utilizing their personal smartphones to run a custom app to monitor Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) depression symptoms, as well as to examine the correlation of these scores to traditionally administered (paper-and-pencil) PHQ-9 scores. Methods A total of 13 patients with major depressive disorder, referred by their clinicians, received standard outpatient treatment and, in addition, utilized their personal smartphones to run the study app to monitor their symptoms. Subjects downloaded and used the Mindful Moods app on their personal smartphone to complete up to three survey sessions per day, during which a randomized subset of PHQ-9 symptoms of major depressive disorder were assessed on a Likert scale. The study lasted 29 or 30 days without additional follow-up. Outcome measures included adherence, measured by the percentage of completed survey sessions, and estimates of daily PHQ-9 scores collected from the smartphone app, as well as from the traditionally administered PHQ-9. Results Overall adherence was 77.78% (903/1161) and varied with time of day. PHQ-9 estimates collected from the app strongly correlated (r=.84) with traditionally administered PHQ-9 scores, but app-collected scores were 3.02 (SD 2.25) points higher on average. More subjects reported suicidal ideation using the app than they did on the traditionally administered PHQ-9. Conclusions Patients with major depressive disorder are able to utilize an app on their personal smartphones to self-assess their symptoms of major depressive disorder with high levels of adherence. These app-collected results correlate with the traditionally administered PHQ-9. Scores recorded from the app may potentially be more sensitive and better able to capture suicidality than the traditional PHQ-9.
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              Screening and brief intervention for drug use in primary care: the ASPIRE randomized clinical trial.

              The United States has invested substantially in screening and brief intervention for illicit drug use and prescription drug misuse, based in part on evidence of efficacy for unhealthy alcohol use. However, it is not a recommended universal preventive service in primary care because of lack of evidence of efficacy.

                Author and article information

                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Research Protocols
                JMIR Publications (Toronto, Canada )
                April 2017
                18 April 2017
                : 6
                : 4
                : e55
                [1] 1Weill Institute for Neurosciences Department of Psychiatry University of California San Francisco, CAUnited States
                [2] 2Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research Oakland, CAUnited States
                [3] 3Division of General Internal Medicine University of California San Francisco, CAUnited States
                [4] 4School of Nursing and Health Professions University of San Francisco San Francisco, CAUnited States
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: Derek D Satre Derek.Satre@ 123456ucsf.edu
                Author information
                ©Derek D Satre, Khanh Ly, Maria Wamsley, Alexa Curtis, Jason Satterfield. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (http://www.researchprotocols.org), 18.04.2017.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Research Protocols, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on http://www.researchprotocols.org, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

                : 29 November 2016
                : 29 January 2017
                : 18 February 2017
                : 18 February 2017

                sbirt,mobile app,digital health,training, implementation,alcohol,drug,depression,anxiety


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