Specifications Manual for Joint Commission National Quality Measures (v2020A2)
Posted: 10/30/2019
Home » Brief Intervention

Release Notes:
Data Element
Version 2020A2

Name:Brief Intervention
Collected For: SUB-2
Definition:A brief intervention is a single session or multiple sessions conducted by a qualified healthcare professional or trained peer support person, following a positive screen for unhealthy alcohol use. The intervention includes motivational discussion focused on increasing insight and awareness regarding alcohol use and motivation toward behavioral change. Brief interventions can be tailored for variance in population or setting and can be used as a stand-alone treatment for those at risk as well as a vehicle for engaging those in need of more extensive levels of care.

A brief intervention focuses on increasing the patient’s understanding of the impact of substance use on his or her health and motivating the patient to change risky behaviors. The components of the intervention include feedback concerning the quantity and frequency of alcohol consumed by the patient in comparison with national norms; a discussion of negative physical, emotional, and occupational consequences; and a discussion of the overall severity of the problem. The qualified health care professional engages the patient in a joint decision-making process regarding alcohol use and plans for follow-up are discussed and agreed to.
Question:Did patients with a positive screening result for unhealthy alcohol use or alcohol use disorder (abuse or dependence) receive a brief intervention prior to discharge?
Allowable Values:

1    The patient received the components of a brief intervention

2    The patient refused/declined the brief intervention

3    Brief counseling was not offered to the patient during the hospital stay or Unable to Determine (UTD) if a brief intervention was provided from medical record documentation

Notes for Abstraction:
  • A qualified healthcare professional may be defined as a physician, nurse, certified addictions counselor, psychologist, social worker, or health educator with training in brief intervention.
  • A peer support person who has received specialized training in brief intervention may perform the brief intervention in lieu of a qualified healthcare professional.
  • If there is no documentation that a brief intervention was given to the patient, select allowable 3
  • Select value "3" if the documentation provided is not explicit enough to determine if the intervention provided contained the specific components or if the intervention meets the intent of the measures.
  • A brief intervention includes, at a minimum, the following three components:
    • Concern that the patient is drinking at unhealthy levels known to increase his/her risk of alcohol-related health problems
    • Feedback linking alcohol use and health, including:
      • Personalized feedback (i.e., explaining how alcohol use can interact with patient’s medical concerns [hypertension, depression/anxiety, insomnia, injury, congestive heart failure (CHF), diabetes mellitus (DM), breast cancer risk, interactions with medications])
      • General feedback on health risks associated with drinking.
    • Advice:
      • To abstain (if there are contraindications to drinking)
      • To drink below recommended limits (specified for patient).
Suggested Data Sources:
  • Consultation notes
  • Nursing notes
  • Progress notes
  • Physicial Progress Notes
Additional Notes:
Guidelines for Abstraction:
Inclusion Exclusion
None None

Brief Intervention
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Specifications Manual for Joint Commission National Quality Measures (v2020A2)
Discharges 01-01-20 (1Q20) through 6-30-20 (2Q20)


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