Curtis AC, Satre DD, Sarovar V, Wamsley M, Ly K & Satterfield J. (2022). A mobile app to promote alcohol and drug SBIRT skill translation among multi-disciplinary health care trainees: Results of a randomized controlled trial. Substance Abuse, 43(1), 13–22. https://doi.org/10.1080/08897077.2019.1686723
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an alcohol and drug screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) mobile app to support healthcare trainees working in various clinical settings. A randomized controlled trial of a new mobile app was conducted among 131 participants who were health profession trainees, had completed SBIRT training in the past year, and had a personal mobile device. The app had three main functions: 1) review of SBIRT skills and substance use disorders, 2) application of SBIRT (including screeners, intervention strategies and tools), and 3) data collection on SBIRT delivery via brief surveys. Participants were randomized to either the SBIRT app or the control condition (no access to the app). Participants completed weekly self-report assessments on SBIRT delivery over the 10-week study duration. Seventy-eight percent of participants assigned to the SBIRT app downloaded it and logged in. There were no statistically significant differences between the groups in the percentage of patients screened, brief interventions delivered, or referrals made to treatment. Additionally, there were no differences between the two arms at baseline nor at the end of the study for attitudes, beliefs, confidence in ability to deliver SBIRT, or behavioral intent to deliver SBIRT. In the group that received the SBIRT app, the average system usability score was 62.00 (SD=12.01), which is considered below average. Participants spent an average of 8.81 minutes in the app. Based on these findings, despite good uptake of the SBIRT app, adherence was low. Authors noted that the effect of the classroom training prior to app access is unknown; it is possible that this training reduced the need for the SBIRT app, leading to non-significant differences between the two arms. The potential for use of digital apps to support the translation of best practices from classroom to clinic is promising; however, additional research is needed to improve engagement and adherence.