Brief intervention reduces harms and costs caused by alcohol
Background Brief intervention is known to be cost-effective, but this has not been evaluated in Finland. In this study, the effect of brief intervention on morbidity, use of health care services, sick leave, labour input, and the costs caused by all of these was estimated.
Methods Assumptions about how wide use of brief intervention would affect alcohol consumption were made based on the scientific literature. Alcohol harms currently and in the case of wide use of brief intervention were estimated using the distribution of alcohol consumption, quantity of harms and their risk in different alcohol use categories.
Results Wide use of brief intervention was estimated to lead to 116 fewer deaths, 11 000 fewer hospital ward days and 7600 fewer outpatient visits in specialist health care, 400 fewer outpatient visits in primary health care and 28 000 fewer sickness absence days. Health care costs would decrease and labour input increase amounting to a saving of about 24 million euros.
Conclusions Wide use of brief intervention would save costs in Finland. This study confirms that brief intervention should be widely implemented in health care.
Ph.D., Adjunct Professor, Research Professor
Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Department of Public Health and Welfare