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Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 1–9 | Cite as

Performance Measurement: A Proposal to Increase Use of SBIRT and Decrease Alcohol Consumption During Pregnancy

  • Peggy L. O’BrienEmail author
Commentary

Abstract

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy has negative implications for maternal and child health. Appropriate early universal Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) for pregnant women is necessary to identify women at risk and reduce the likelihood of continued drinking. Because SBIRT is not consistently used, the development and use of performance measures to assure implementation of SBIRT are key steps towards intervention and reduction of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Practice guidelines provide ample support for specific instruments designed for SBIRT in prenatal care. An examination of existing performance measures related to alcohol consumption during pregnancy, however, reveals no comprehensive published performance measure designed to quantify the use of SBIRT for alcohol use in prenatal care. Process performance measures were developed that can determine the proportion of pregnant women who are screened during the course of prenatal care and the proportion of women requiring either brief intervention or referral to substance use disorder treatment who received those interventions. The measures require use of screening instruments validated for use with pregnant women. The two proposed measures would represent a significant step in efforts to assure appropriate intervention for women who drink during pregnancy, hold accountable providers who do not employ SBIRT, and provide a basis from which necessary systemic changes might occur. Pregnancy is a time when many women are motivated to stop drinking. That opportunity should be seized, with timely intervention offering assistance for pregnant women who have not stopped drinking of their own accord.

Keywords

SBIRT Screening Alcohol Pregnancy Performance measure Prevention 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The development of this article was possible through the support of training grant 2T32AA007567-16 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The author would also like to acknowledge feedback and suggestions during the development of the article provided by Drs. Judith Bernstein, Mary Brolin, Deborah W. Garnick, and Maria Torres, and by the anonymous reviewers who provided feedback.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Heller School for Social Policy and ManagementBrandeis UniversityWalthamUSA

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