Standardizing Substance Use Screening and Increasing Access to Harm-Reducing Treatment Through a Pilot Implementation of Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)

Sydney Berkman, Seattle University
Lianabell Soto-Silva, Seattle University


The objectives of this project are to introduce standardized universal screening for substance use through the implementation of the screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) tool at Country Doctor Community Health Centers (CDCHC). The patient population for this pilot were patients ages 18 and older seen in person by one of the four participating providers at CDCHC. The specific aims of the pilot were to: 1) increase drug and alcohol use screening rates for patients ages 18 and older from 0% to 25% by April 1st, 2022, and 2) to offer a brief intervention and/or referral to treatment to at least 50% of the patients who screened positive. The workflows created for this project went into effect on January 1st, 2022. Quantitative data related to the aims above and patient demographics were collected via an electronic medical record (EMR) data report and manual chart review on April 2nd,2022. In addition, a post-implementation survey was developed and distributed to staff involved in the pilot to evaluate barriers to implementation and to inform changes necessary prior to expansion. Overall, the core aims for this project were met. Substance use screening for the eligible group of patients increased from 0% to 38% and brief interventions or treatment referrals for indicated patients increased from 0% to 66%. The results from the post implementation survey were thematically analyzed to inform our recommendations for future project expansion. A summary of this pilot’s findings and recommendations was distributed to core CDCHC stakeholders.