Current Research: Phase IV Overview

The two central aims of Phase IV are:

  1. to make a significant difference to the “real world” conditions under which brief interventions are disseminated in primary health care.

  2. to establish a programme of action leading to the widespread, routine and enduring implementation of screening and brief interventions in primary health care.

The  Phase IV project is to a large extent flexible and will vary among each participating country. It can, however,  be divided roughly into the following three strands:

Strand 1 consists of 4 components that are essential to a successful implementation strategy.

  • Customisation of existing screening and brief intervention materials and procedures for use in primary health care.

  • reframing of alcohol issues by developing a Communications Strategy  to promote better understanding of the concept of “risky drinking”

  • building a Strategic Alliance of key organizations and individuals in order to promote widespread implementation of screening and brief interventions in primary health care in England

  • preparation for a Demonstration Project  in Strand 2 of the study.

Strand 2 will be a Demonstration Project or Projects based on the findings of Strand 1.  The building of the Strategic Alliance will continue during this strand.

Strand 3 represents an iterative process in which experiences gained during the Demonstration Project will be used to further customise materials and services, refine the Communications Strategy and improve the overall implementation strategy.

It is expected that Phase IV will initiate an ongoing and iterative process that will continue after the study itself has formally ended.  In the same way that it took many years for screening and brief advice against cigarette smoking to be fully accepted as an essential contribution to public health, it may take a similar period for screening and brief interventions against risky drinking to be widely accepted and implemented.  The Strategic Alliance, combined with the other components of the project, is an essential first step in this direction.