BACKGROUND: Brief interventions (BIs) have been shown to be effective in modifying hazardous drinking behaviours in a range of settings. However, they are underutilised in hospitals due to resource constraints. We explored the perspectives of admitted trauma patients about the appeal, acceptability and content of a Brief Intervention (BI) delivered via text messages. METHODS: Thirty mobile phone users (≥16 years old) admitted to Auckland City Hospital as a result of injury were recruited (December 2010 - January 2011). Participants were interviewed face-to-face during their hospital stay using a semi-structured interview guide that explored topics including perceptions of the proposed intervention to reduce hazardous drinking and related harm, and perceived acceptability of an m-health program. Where issues relating to content of messages were raised by participants these were also captured. In addition, a brief survey captured information on demographic information, mobile phone usage and type of phone, along with the frequency of alcohol use. RESULTS: 22 of the 30 participants were male, and almost half were aged 20 to 39 years. The majority of participants identified as New Zealand Europeans, six as Māori (New Zealand's indigenous population) and of the remainder two each identified as Pacific and of Asian ethnicity. Most (28/30) participants used a mobile phone daily. 18 participants were deemed to be drinking in a non-hazardous manner, seven were hazardous drinkers, and three were non-drinkers. Most participants (21/30) indicated that text messages could be effective in reducing hazardous drinking and related harms, with more than half (17/30) signalling they would sign-up. Factors identified that would increase receptiveness included: awareness that the intervention was evidence-based; participants readiness-to-change; informative messages that include the consequences of drinking and practical advice; non-judgemental messages; and ease-of-use. Areas of potential concern included: confidentiality and frequency of messages. The cultural relevance of the messages for Māori was highlighted as important. CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that trauma patients recognize potential benefits of mobile-health interventions designed to reduce hazardous drinking. The feedback provided will inform the development of an intervention to be evaluated in a randomised controlled trial.
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