Tech company launches questionnaire to help prevent alcohol abuse

Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 1:36 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - A technology company in Roanoke hopes to change the way doctors screen for alcohol abuse.

BEAM Diagnostics Inc. said 29% of Americans are affected by Alcohol Use Disorder and said there has been an increase in alcohol consumption during the pandemic.

To better catch signs of risky drinking early-on, the company has launched a digital questionnaire called Beacon that asks seven questions.

CEO Dr. Sarah Snider said this questionnaire is better than the traditional screening methods of asking someone how many drinks they have per week because it focuses on decision making.

“The dynamics of the questionnaire actually change depending on how the patient takes it. So it is not a static seven questions. But a person, depending on how they answer the first question, may be given a set of second questions,” CEO Dr. Sarah Snider said.

BEAM Diagnostics hopes to translate the decades of research done on AUD and early detection into a practical application for physicians to use, Snider said.

The company is grant-funded and the application has been validated with clinical trials.

In those trials, Beacon identified three times as many patients with risky drinking compared to the current screening methods.

The next step is to launch the questionnaire and start to see it used in a healthcare setting.

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