A new screening tool developed at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, is designed to help increase care for patients with eating disorders. The Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment for Eating Disorders is a mouthful, but is easily abbreviated to SBIRT-ED, and enables clinicians to use conversation guides and resources to speak to an individual with a suspected ED about the next steps to take once the diagnosis is made.
Christine Peat, PhD, director of the National Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders at the UNC School of Medicine, notes that many persons with eating disorders do not have obvious signs or symptoms, and thus the ED can go undetected without routine screening. The new screening tool can be used in various types of clinics and applied to patients in several ways. The UNC staff plans to offer training sessions on the background and implementation of SBIRT-ED to primary care physicians and their staffs. They are also developing curricula for medical and graduate training programs, so the next generation of healthcare providers can be trained to use the new screening tool. According to the authors, the tool is “feasible to use for every adult patient and facilitates referrals to specialty treatment—a key component of eating disorder management.”