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School of Public Health





Behavioural brief interventions (BI) can support people to reduce harmful drinking but multiple barriers impede the delivery and equitable access to these. To address this challenge, we developed YourCall™, a novel short message service (SMS) text message intervention incorporating BI principles. This protocol describes a trial evaluating the effectiveness of YourCall™ (compared to usual care) in reducing hazardous drinking and alcohol related harm among injured adults who received in-patient care.


Participants recruited to this single-blind randomised controlled trial comprised patients aged 16-69 years in three trauma-admitting hospitals in Auckland, New Zealand. Those who screened positive for moderately hazardous drinking were randomly assigned by computer to usual care (control group) or the intervention. The latter comprised 16 informational and motivational text messages delivered using an automated system over the four weeks following discharge. The primary outcome is the difference in mean AUDIT-C score between the intervention and control groups at 3 months, with the maintenance of the effect examined at 6 and 12 months follow-up. Secondary outcomes comprised the health and social impacts of heavy drinking ascertained through a web-survey at 12 months, and further injuries identified through probabilistic linkage to national databases on accident insurance, hospital discharges, and mortality. Research staff evaluating outcomes were blinded to allocation. Intention-to-treat analyses will include assessment of interactions based on ethnicity (Māori compared with non-Māori).


If found to be effective, this mobile health strategy has the potential to overcome current barriers to implementing equitably accessible interventions that can reduce harmful drinking.

Trial registration

Universal Trial Number (UTN) U1111-1134-0028. ACTRN12612001220853. Submitted 8 November 2012 (date of enrolment of first participant); Version 1 registration confirmed 19 November 2012. Retrospectively registered.

Source Citation

Ameratunga, S., Kool, B., Sharpe, S. et al. Effectiveness of the YourCall™ text message intervention to reduce harmful drinking in patients discharged from trauma wards: protocol for a randomised controlled trial. BMC Public Health 17, 48 (2017).


Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.



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