Measuring Use of Health Services for At-Risk Drinkers: How Brief Can You Get?
This study examines the validity, utility, and costs of using a brief telephone-administered instrument, the Brief Health Services Questionnaire (BHSQ), for self-reported health care provider contacts relative to collection and abstraction of complete medical records. The study sample was 441 community-dwelling at-risk drinkers who participated in an 18-month longitudinal study. Agreement between BHSQ self-reports and abstracted provider contacts was good to very good for general medical (79% agreement, kappa = .50) and specialty mental health contacts (93% agreement, kappa = .62), but low for “other” miscellaneous health contacts (61% agreement, kappa = .04). Average cost to collect and abstract complete medical records was $424 per study participant, whereas average cost to administer only the BHSQ was $31 per participant. Although it is not possible to conduct a formal cost-effectiveness analysis, results suggest the BHSQ is a viable option for collecting self-reported health provider contacts in a sample of at-risk drinkers, with definite cost advantages over more elaborate data collection methods.
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