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 in Arthritis Care & Research. Investigators 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, staterun tobacco quit lines. The analysis included 4,078 eligible pre-implementation visits and 523 intervention period visits. The odds of referral to the tobacco quit line were higher for the post-implementation 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 post-implementation period compared with the pre-implementation period (adjusted odds ratio, 132). During the intervention, e-referrals for 71% of quit-ready patients occurred in less than 90 seconds, and nearly one-fourth of referred patients (24%) 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 study authors write.
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