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NCPD Article

Substance Use Screening Protocol: Implementation of a System for Patients With Cancer

Amanda Choflet
Laura Hoofring
Zhi Cheng
Lisa Katulis
Amol Narang
Susan Appling
CJON 2020, 24(5), 554-560 DOI: 10.1188/20.CJON.554-560

Background: Substance use by patients with a cancer diagnosis may have a detrimental effect on short- and long-term outcomes. Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) has been recommended for all patients in primary care and emergency medicine.

Objectives: The purpose of this quality improvement project was to train clinical providers and to implement an effective SBIRT program in a radiation oncology clinic in a comprehensive cancer center.

Methods: An interprofessional task force developed a staff training protocol that incorporated oncology-specific content. The team then piloted an SBIRT program in the outpatient clinic.

Findings: Staff training results were mixed, with only a few evaluation items showing significant improvement. Despite these results, staff training and the implementation of an SBIRT may be valuable in improving substance use screening in this vulnerable population.

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