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See detailRandomised controlled non-inferiority trial of primary care-based facilitated access to an alcohol reduction website
Wallace, Paul; Struzzo, Pierliugi; Della Vedova, Roberto et al

in BMJ Open (2017), 7(11),

Background: Brief interventions (BIs) delivered in primary care have been shown to be effective in reducing risky drinking, but implementation is limited. Facilitated access to a digital application ... [more ▼]

Background: Brief interventions (BIs) delivered in primary care have been shown to be effective in reducing risky drinking, but implementation is limited. Facilitated access to a digital application offers a novel alternative to face-to-face intervention, but its relative effectiveness is unknown.Methods: Primary care-based, non-inferiority, randomised controlled trial comparing general practitioner (GP) facilitated access to an interactive alcohol reduction website (FA) with face-to-face BI for risky drinking. Patients screening positive on the short Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C) were invited to participate in the trial. Assessment at baseline, 3 months and 12 months was carried out using AUDIT and EQ-5D-5L questionnaires. Findings: 58 participating GPs approached 9080 patients of whom 4529 (49.9%) logged on, 3841 (84.8%) undertook screening, 822 (21.4%) screened positive and 763 (19.9%) were recruited. 347 (45.5%) were allocated to FA and 416 (54.5%) to BI. At 3 months, subjects in FA group with an AUDIT score of ≥8 reduced from 95 (27.5%) to 85 (26.8%) while those in BI group increased from 123 (20.6%) to 141 (37%). Differences between groups were principally due to responses to AUDIT question 10. Analysis of primary outcome indicated non-inferiority of FA compared with BI, and prespecified subgroup analysis indicated benefits for older patients and those with higher levels of computer literacy and lower baseline severity. Additional analyses undertaken to take account of bias in response to AUDIT question 10 failed to support non-inferiority within the prespecified 10% boundary.Interpretation: Prespecified protocol-driven analyses of the trial indicate that FA is non-inferior to BI; however, identified bias in the outcome measure and further supportive analyses question the robustness of this finding. It is therefore not possible to draw firm conclusions from this trial, and further research is needed to determine whether the findings can be replicated using more robust outcome measures.Trial registration number NCT01638338; Results. [less ▲]

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See detailDownload Your Doctor: Implementation of a Digitally Mediated Personal Physician Presence to Enhance Patient Engagement With a Health-Promoting Internet Application.
Lygidakis, Charilaos UL; Wallace, Paul; Tersar, Costanza et al

in JMIR Research Protocols (2016), 5(1), 36

BACKGROUND: Brief interventions delivered in primary health care are effective in reducing excessive drinking; online behavior-changing technique interventions may be helpful. Physicians may actively ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Brief interventions delivered in primary health care are effective in reducing excessive drinking; online behavior-changing technique interventions may be helpful. Physicians may actively encourage the use of such interventions by helping patients access selected websites (a process known as "facilitated access"). Although the therapeutic working alliance plays a significant role in the achievement of positive outcomes in face-to-face psychotherapy and its development has been shown to be feasible online, little research has been done on its impact on brief interventions. Strengthening patients' perception of their physician's endorsement of a website could facilitate the development of an effective alliance between the patient and the app. OBJECTIVE: We describe the implementation of a digitally mediated personal physician presence to enhance patient engagement with an alcohol-reduction website as part of the experimental online intervention in a noninferiority randomized controlled trial. We also report the feedback of the users on the module. METHODS: The Download Your Doctor module was created to simulate the personal physician presence for an alcohol-reduction website that was developed for the EFAR-FVG trial conducted in the Italian region of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia. The module was designed to enhance therapeutic alliance and thus improve outcomes in the intervention group (facilitated access to the website). Participating general and family practitioners could customize messages and visual elements and upload a personal photo, signature, and video recordings. To assess the perceptions and attitudes of the physicians, a semistructured interview was carried out 3 months after the start of the trial. Participating patients were invited to respond to a short online questionnaire 12 months following recruitment to investigate their evaluation of their online experiences. RESULTS: Nearly three-quarters (23/32, 72%) of the physicians interviewed chose to customize the contents of the interaction with their patients using the provided features and acknowledged the ease of use of the online tools. The majority of physicians (21/32, 57%) customized at least the introductory photo and video. Barriers to usage among those who did not customize the contents were time restrictions, privacy concerns, difficulties in using the tools, and considering the approach not useful. Over half (341/620, 55.0%) of participating patients completed the optional questionnaire. Many of them (240/341, 70.4%) recalled having noticed the personalized elements of their physicians, and the majority of those (208/240, 86.7%) reacted positively, considering the personalization to be of either high or the highest importance. CONCLUSIONS: The use of a digitally mediated personal physician presence online was both feasible and welcomed by both patients and physicians. Training of the physicians seems to be a key factor in addressing perceived barriers to usage. Further research is recommended to study the mechanisms behind this approach and its impact. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinicaltrials.gov NCT 01638338; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01638338 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6f0JLZMtq). [less ▲]

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See detailRandomised controlled non-inferiority trial of primary care based facilitated access to an alcohol reduction website (EFAR-FVG)
Wallace, Paul; Struzzo, Piero; della Vedova, Roberto et al

in Addiction Science and Clinical Practice (2013)

Introduction There is a strong body of evidence demonstrating effectiveness of brief interventions by primary care professionals for risky drinkers but implementation levels remain low. Facilitated access ... [more ▼]

Introduction There is a strong body of evidence demonstrating effectiveness of brief interventions by primary care professionals for risky drinkers but implementation levels remain low. Facilitated access to an alcohol reduction website constitutes an innovative approach to brief intervention, offering a time-saving alternative to face to face intervention, but it is not known whether it is as effective. Objective To determine whether facilitated access to an alcohol reduction website is equivalent to face to face intervention. Methods Randomised controlled non-inferiority trial for risky drinkers comparing facilitated access to a dedicated website with face to face brief intervention conducted in primary care settings in the Region of Friuli Venezia-Giulia, Italy. Adult patients are given a leaflet inviting them to log on to a website to complete the AUDIT-C alcohol screening questionnaire. Screen positives are requested to complete an online trial module including consent, baseline assessment and randomisation to either standard intervention by the practitioner or facilitated access to an alcohol reduction website. Follow up assessment of risky drinking is undertaken online at 1 month, 3 months and 1 year using the full AUDIT questionnaire. Proportions of risky drinkers in each group will be calculated and non-inferiority assessed against a specified margin of 10%. The trial is being undertaken as an initial pilot and a subsequent main trial. Results 12 practices have participated in the pilot, and more than 1300 leaflets have been distributed. 89 patients have been recruited to the trial with a one month follow-up rate of 79%. Discussion The findings of the pilot study suggest that the trial design is feasible, though modifications will be made to optimize performance in the main trial which will commence in January 2014. Plans are concurrently underway to replicate the trial in Australia, and potentially in the UK and Spain. [less ▲]

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See detailA randomised controlled non-inferiority trial of primary care-based facilitated access to an alcohol reduction website (EFAR-FVG): the study protocol.
Struzzo, Pierluigi; Scafato, Emanuele; McGregor, Richard et al

in BMJ open (2013), 3(2),

INTRODUCTION: There is a strong body of evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of brief interventions by primary care professionals for risky drinkers. However, implementation levels remain low because ... [more ▼]

INTRODUCTION: There is a strong body of evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of brief interventions by primary care professionals for risky drinkers. However, implementation levels remain low because of time constraints and other factors. Facilitated access to an alcohol reduction website offers primary care professionals a time-saving alternative to standard face-to-face intervention, but it is not known whether it is as effective. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A randomised controlled non-inferiority trial for risky drinkers comparing facilitated access to a dedicated website with standard face-to-face brief intervention to be conducted in primary care settings in the Region of Friuli Giulia Venezia, Italy. Adult patients will be given a leaflet inviting them to log on to a website to complete the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C) alcohol screening questionnaire. Screen positives will be requested to complete an online trial module including consent, baseline assessment and randomisation to either standard intervention by the practitioner or facilitated access to an alcohol reduction website. Follow-up assessment of risky drinking will be undertaken online at 1 month, 3 months and 1 year using the full AUDIT questionnaire. Proportions of risky drinkers in each group will be calculated and non-inferiority assessed against a specified margin of 10%. Assuming a reduction of 30% of risky drinkers receiving standard intervention, 1000 patients will be required to give 90% power to reject the null hypothesis. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The protocol was approved by the Isontina Independent Local Ethics Committee on 14 June 2012. The findings of the trial will be disseminated through peer-reviewed journals, national and international conference presentations and public events involving the local administrations of the towns where the trial participants are resident. REGISTRATION DETAILS: Trial registration number NCT: 01638338. [less ▲]

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