The early onset of alcohol misuse during adolescence is a widespread problem in the U.S. Studies have consistently documented both the short and long-term adverse neurophysiological impacts and health risk behaviors associated with alcohol misuse during adolescence. Given the magnitude of this problem and its myriad consequences, preventing early initiation of alcohol use and intervening in risky drinking are important public health objectives. Yet, the vast majority of adolescents with nascent alcohol use problems are not identified. Because most adolescents access the healthcare system at least annually, pediatric practitioners are in a unique position to identify and intervene in risky drinking. As such, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) developed a screening tool for youth alcohol misuse and published a 47-page guidebook entitled Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth: A Practitioner's Guide. The purpose of the Practitioner's Guide was to equip practitioners with a screening tool and tailored intervention resources to help them appropriately counsel youth about their drinking. Unfortunately, the hardcopy format of the Practitioner's Guide is not well-suited for the modern healthcare environment, as providers must navigate a complex and nuanced decision algorithm in the midst of an already time-constrained medical visit. Given the highly-tailored nature of the screening and intervention resources in the Practitioner's Guide, a computerized version could substantially enhance its clinical utility and uptake. Building on our team's extensive experience in the field of adolescent substance use screening and intervention, we propose to develop a computerized version of the screening and intervention resources in the Practitioner's Guide using a research-driven process. A computerized version of these resources (with eventual integration into electronic medical record systems) could dramatically enhance their practical utility for clinicians, thereby increasing the number of youth who receive high-quality alcohol screenings and brief interventions. The recent emphasis on integrating behavioral health and medicine is opening new market opportunities for which the proposed technology is well-positioned. Thus, the project has high potential for commercial success and could have significant public health impact.
This project seeks to translate key elements in the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)'s Practitioner's Guide for pediatric alcohol misuse to a computerized web- and mobile-compatible format. A computerized version of this Guide could dramatically enhance its practical utility for clinicians, thereby increasing the number of youth who receive high-quality alcohol screening and appropriate intervention. Thus, the project has high potential for significant public health impact as well as commercial appeal.