SCALA Update: preliminary findings – SCALA shorter package performs just as well or better

Following analysis of the collected screening data 5 months into the study, we found that the shorter training and intervention package performs better than the standard-length package.

As a result, the project has taken the decision to restart the study using only the short SCALA package (collapsing study arms 3 & 4).

Our hypothesis was that the longer package would not perform better than the shorter one – meaning that coverage (of conversations about alcohol in the primary care visits) would not be higher in those centres using the longer package. If proven, the implication is that clinicians could save valuable time (with shorter training courses and shorter screening and intervention protocols) and still get positive results.

Data collected by month 5 of the implementation phase showed that provided evidence that the longer intervention (tested in arm 4) did not perform better than the shorter one (arm 3):

  • In Arm 3, countries reported a coverage of 73 per 1,000 at month 5.
  • In Arm 4, we had a coverage of 50 per 1,000 at month 5.

In line with this finding, arms 3 and 4 of the study were merged, with both continuing with the shorter programme when the data collection restarts to recover data lost from the COVID pandemic disruption.