Editor’s note: SBIRT stands for Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment. Learn more about it here.
SBIRT to address risky alcohol use is as effective and cost-effective as a flu shot, but it’s not nearly so widespread. This is according to a systematic review of research on alcohol SBIRT published between 1992 and 2004, which concluded that alcohol SBIRT scores a 4 out of 5 in terms of Clinically Preventable Burden (the health burden reduced by SBIRT multiplied by SBIRT’s effectiveness) and a 5 out of 5 in cost-effectiveness. All in all, a 9 out of 10.
In short, it works pretty well at a pretty marginal cost. SBIRT’s score was similar to screening for colorectal cancer and hypertension and to vaccines for influenza and pneumococcal disease.
Unlike those other services, though, the study authors reported that “alcohol misuse screening and counseling currently are delivered at much lower rates.”
Of course, SBIRT seems like a horse of a different color. It’s not an injection or a blood test; it’s a conversation. This unfamiliar (sometimes uncomfortable) quality has been a barrier to SBIRT’s broad adoption in health settings. But again, the US Preventative Task Force, which stringently grades preventative health services, tell us it’s as effective and cost-effective as a flu shot.
As the home of the National SBIRT ATTC, IRETA supports practitioners and organizations interested in the use of SBIRT. One of our most effective strategies has been to connect people who would like to begin or improve an SBIRT program with people who are doing it and seeing success.
Many of these SBIRT leaders have presented webinars for us; recorded versions are available on our website.
But time is always of the essence, so here are some quick reads: six one-page case studies of SBIRT in action. Each case study is a synopsis of a recorded webinar by an SBIRT practitioner. If you like what you read and want to learn more, watch the whole webinar on our website. If the case study tells you everything you need to know, all the better!
This compendium of SBIRT case studies will continue to grow. Please download and share them. We hope they are helpful as you explore or improve an SBIRT program in your own setting.