Getting Started

Sometimes adding new workflows to a clinic can be met with clinicians and practice staff resistance, as they may already be struggling with time and efficiency. Our demonstration of MI-SPARC revealed that implementing SBIRT for unhealthy alcohol use did not cause significant disruption. Once we gave the practices the tools and MI SPARC training, they realized that adding the screening and brief interventions did not result in more than just a few minutes of extra intake time. Another concern shared with us was discussing a sensitive topic, such as personal alcohol use and patient pushback. However, the clinics found that once the universal screening was in place, patients neither resisted nor were distressed about completing the screeners or discussing alcohol use and healthy behaviors. We observed that buy-in from an Office Champion (someone dedicated to leading the project and responsible for communicating with the team) and the practice's clinicians made a vital difference in successful implementation. In implementing our recommended first steps, our practices found that getting started was more manageable than anticipated, allowed opportunities for customization to meet their own practice's needs, and formed a solid starting foundation.

Here are the recommended steps to follow to get started:
  1. Identify an Office Champion.
  2. Follow the MI-SPARC Implementation Checklist.
  3. Explore existing documentation within the Electronic Health Record (EHR). What else is needed for the documenting screening, scoring, SBIRT documentation, referral for treatment, medications started, etc...
  4. Use the MI-SPARC Training Modules: these slides supply providers and staff with information about drinking limits, as well as options for treatment, which have advanced over the past few years.