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Protocol Ups Referrals to Tobacco Quit Line in Rheumatology Clinics

Referrals took less than 90 seconds and increased 26-fold with staff usage of Quit Connect protocol

a pack of cigarettes

THURSDAY, April 8, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Implementing the Quit Connect protocol in rheumatology clinics is feasible and increases electronic referrals to a state-run tobacco quit line, according to a study published online April 6 in Arthritis Care & Research.

Christie M. Bartels, M.D., from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, and colleagues assessed the feasibility and effectiveness of implementation of a staff-driven protocol, Quit Connect, to increase the rate of electronic referrals (e-referrals) from three rheumatology clinics to free, state-run tobacco quit lines. The analysis included 4,078 eligible pre-implementation visits and 523 intervention period visits.

The researchers found that the odds of referral to the tobacco quit line were higher for the postimplementation period compared with the pre-implementation period (unadjusted odds ratio, 26). Similarly, the odds of staff checking patients' readiness to quit in the next 30 days increased more than 100-fold for the postimplementation period compared with the pre-implementation period (adjusted odds ratio, 132). During the intervention, e-referrals for 71 percent of quit-ready patients occurred in <90 seconds, and nearly one-fourth of referred patients (24 percent) reported a quit attempt.

"Rheumatology visits provide a unique opportunity to address smoking as a chronic modifiable risk factor in populations at high risk for cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, and rheumatic disease progression," the authors write.

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