Screening Hospital Patients for Alcohol Problems is Just What the Doctor Ordered

Evaluating an alcohol intervention program in general hospitals

Between July 1992 and October 1995, the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene of Albany, N.Y., evaluated the performance of the New York State Hospital Intervention Service (HIS), which screens hospital patients for alcohol problems and conducts a brief intervention or refers them to treatment.

Researchers interviewed patients and staff and reviewed records at four HIS hospitals and three non-HIS hospitals.

Key Findings

  • Patients who received intervention for drinking problems had reduced their alcohol intake six months later.

  • Patients with more serious problems benefited the most from the program.

    Findings received wide dissemination by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, lending support to the program within state government and the medical community.