The National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Drug Abuse is proposing a study that would evaluate Web-based training as a tool to help primary-care physicians more effectively screen, treat and provide referrals to patients with substance-abuse problems.
NIH looks to study online tool to help docs screen for substance abuse
As many as one-fifth of primary-care patients have substance-abuse issues, according to NIDA, but few are screened by their physicians for substance-use problems. And fewer than one-third of primary-care physicians provide a referral when they identify that a patient has a substance-abuse problem.
Notice of the proposed study was published in today's Federal Register. If the study is approved, researchers would assign participating physicians to either a control group, which would receive online reading materials, or the study group, which would complete the interactive training program.
"The goal of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of this training on provider behavior and/or patient outcome and the program's utility as a training tool in a real-world medical setting," according to the Federal Register notice.
According to NIDA, providers who complete the training modules should be able to select and use the right screening tools for tobacco, alcohol and drugs. Additionally, NIDA hopes they will be more skilled at providing follow-up care after patients receive substance-abuse treatment.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.