Roanoke business receives $1.7M grant in partnership with Carilion for preventative screening for alcohol misuse

Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 7:44 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Alcohol use disorder is estimated to affect nearly 30% of Americans, and is a major contributing factor to disease, disability, and death. Less than 20% of those people are ever treated.

“Alcoholism really prevails in almost any population that you look at,” explains Anita Kablinger, MD, of Carilion Clinic. She also says it’s a problem that’s worsened during the pandemic.

That’s why one local business has developed a tool that can detect people who are vulnerable to alcohol misuse.

They’re called BEAM Diagnostic, and in partnership with Carilion, they’ve just received a $1.7 million NIH grant to improve the Beacon-Alc test.

“The assessment itself is a screening tool that allows us to quickly and accurately determine a patient’s risk for alcohol misuse without asking any stigmatizing questions,” notes Sarah Snider, Ph.D., the company’s co-founder and CEO.

With this seven question test, they will bring proactive digital screening to the clinic.

“There are many people who don’t recognize that they have an issue with alcohol misuse, so by the time we tend to see people with alcohol use disorder in a clinical sense, typically the alcohol use has already been fairly accelerated,” adds Kablinger.

In a clinical study conducted at Carilion, Beacon-Alc identified three times as many patients at risk for developing hazardous drinking habits compared to current assessment practices

Following that success, the groups will team up and begin interfacing with Carilion’s electronic medical record system, making the tool readily accessible to providers and patients.

“BEAM is really creating the avenue and the assessment to give them accessibility to proactive output that they can use to open the dialogue with their provider to get them connected to the care that they might need before chronic disease sets in,” says Snider.

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