Implications of SBIRT for Early Identification of Substance Use Disorder
Everyone in the addiction treatment recovery industry knows that too many Americans never receive addiction treatment because their disorders go completely undiagnosed. Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is an evidence-based practice that has been clinically shown to identify, reduce and prevent substance misuse and the disease of addiction and ultimately reduce healthcare costs. While implementation barriers still exist, the Affordable Care Act has created valuable opportunities for the expansion of SBIRT utilization across various healthcare settings.
SBIRT is an early intervention approach that can be used in primary care settings to identify individuals at risk for substance use disorder. This approach targets individuals with non-dependent substance use to provide intervention prior to the need for more extensive treatment. Healthcare practitioners are encouraged to utilize SBIRT for patients who may not be actively seeking treatment for substance abuse, but who are at risk for developing medical complications or whose substance use may interfere with other responsibilities such as work and family matters.
Early intervention for patients with the potential for being diagnosed with substance use disorder is a priority for federal and commercial health plans. While there are obviously benefits of early treatment for the patient, utilizing SBIRT has the potential to lower costs to healthcare programs by shortening the time needed for treatment by identifying the issue at a less severe stage and reducing the likelihood of the patient developing costly comorbidities as the result of long-term substance abuse. Read more