Brief motivational intervention (MI) involves personalized feedback and motivational strategies such as normative comparisons to help people change their behaviors. As a result, MI is highly efficacious in reducing heavy drinking and associated sexual risk behaviors among emergency department (ED) patients. Because of the high demands placed on ED staff and lack of monetary resources, implementing in-person MI sessions in the ED is highly challenging.
This study, spearheaded by Dr. Peter Monti, Donald G. Millar Distinguished Professor of Alcohol and Addiction Studies, professor of behavioral and social sciences, and director of alcohol and addiction studies at Brown University School of Public Health, sought to examine the acceptability and logical feasibility of utilizing video-conference technology to deliver MI targeting ED patients with heavy drinking and risky sexual behavior as an alternative to in-person sessions.
Researchers recruited seven ED participants who accurately represented the target population of ED patients who would benefit from this MI. Participants received MI from trained therapists via video conference. All participants consistently indicated high levels of satisfaction, acceptability, and engagement with the video conference MI. Independent ratings of audio recorded sessions (using the Motivational Interviewing Skills Coding System) and high post-intervention ratings indicate that delivery modality did not compromise intervention fidelity and MI adherence.
Ultimately, this data demonstrates that video conferencing can be used as a viable technology for delivering brief evidence-based MIs in ED settings. Suggestions for future areas of improvement involve stronger network connectivity, usage of high-definition software, and better communication of information regarding confidentiality and privacy.
This study was published in Addiction and Research Theory, Volume 25, 2017