Encouraging your patients to quit smoking is one of the most important things you can do as a healthcare professional. Connecting smokers and other tobacco users with evidence-based treatments, including FDA-approved medications and behavioral counseling, greatly increases their chances of a successful quit.
Remind all patients that their insurance covers prescription medications after passage of ACA.
Refer patients to QuitWorks. QuitWorks is a free, evidence-based referral service that connects patients with phone-based counseling through the Massachusetts Smokers’ Helpline to help them stop smoking. Once a referral is made to Quitworks, the provider receives feedback reports to stay informed of their patient’s progress.
Reinforce with patient education materials. The Massachusetts Health Promotion Clearinghouse offers free brochures and guides for your patients about quitting smoking. Order some for your office today.
Each time a clinician intervenes with a patient who uses tobacco, that patient’s likelihood of quitting increases by 30%. Even brief interventions lasting less than 3 minutes are effective. You may need to intervene repeatedly with your tobacco-using patients, just as you would when assisting patients with managing any chronic condition. Most tobacco users try to quit multiple times before they are successful.
Follow Guideline recommendations that best fit your practice. The U.S. Public Health Service’s Clinical Practice Guideline Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update was designed to assist clinicians in identifying and assessing tobacco users and in delivering evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment. The Quick Reference Guide for Clinicians provides a summary of guideline cessation intervention strategies for use on a day-to-day basis.
Free technical assistance is available for healthcare systems. The University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Center for Tobacco Treatment Research and Trainingprovides free technical assistance and training to Massachusetts health systems to meet Meaningful Use requirements, Patient-Centered Medical Home requirements, and/or Joint Commission standards. Assistance is also available for quality improvement efforts of existing tobacco intervention programs. Recent research shows that a comprehensive tobacco cessation program can assist hospitals in preventing readmissions.*