Brief alcohol interventions in U.S. medical settings: A systematic review of the implementation literature

Travis A. Loughran, Jacob L. Scharer, Lauren Rodriguez, Martin J. De Vita, Stephen A. Maisto, Jennifer S. Funderburk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This systematic review provides a synthesis of the literature on brief alcohol intervention (BAI) implementation in medical settings. We utilized the Proctor et al. (2011) taxonomy of eight implementation outcomes (acceptability, adoption, appropriateness, feasibility, fidelity, implementation cost, penetration, and sustainability) to organize and describe the qualitative and quantitative literature regarding BAI implementation. An electronic search of the PubMed database identified 25 articles that met inclusion criteria. The study team independently assessed all articles for methodological quality, with the majority of studies rated as weak to moderate. Descriptive and narrative review of the included articles identified penetration and acceptability as the two most commonly reported implementation outcomes. Studies rarely reported other outcomes (e.g., fidelity, cost, sustainability, adoption). On average, studies utilized approximately six implementation strategies to facilitate implementation, with education (96%), quality management (64%), and planning (56%) strategies the most frequently reported. Promising evidence exists that patients and providers are accepting of BAI implementation efforts and implementation efforts are helpful in expanding the reach of BAIs. A theory-informed approach to selecting implementation strategies may enhance implementation success in future work. When reporting on implementation, all studies should provide detailed BAI descriptions and strategies to enhance replication efforts. We suggest study designs that balance practical outcomes with methodological rigor to maximize the quality of future studies and better inform implementation efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108456
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Brief alcohol intervention
  • Health care
  • Implementation
  • Medical setting
  • Review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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