California Researchers Develop Interactive Program for Waiting-Room Patients about Smoking and Alcohol Use

Integrating a behavioral risk assessment and brief intervention tool into primary care settings

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Dentistry worked to revise their prototype patient education program—"Video Doctor"—so that patients can operate it independently in their physicians' offices. They created it under a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Video Doctor is an interactive computer program that patients can use in physicians' waiting rooms to receive targeted risk-reduction information and suggestions regarding their smoking and alcohol use.

Key Results

  • The project staff:

    • Modified Video Doctor so that patients could operate it independently in the primary care clinic setting.
    • Developed six prototypes of "cueing reports." These reports provide physicians with a summary of the patient's risky behaviors and readiness to change. The reports also include easy-to-follow scripts to help physicians relay advice about behavioral risks.