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You hold the key to kicking the habit


An AAFP program is seeking practices to help patients who use tobacco. With one simple step, you can help them quit and get paid to do it.

Need help getting patients to quit the habit? The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) is recruiting 50 family medicine practices for its Office Champions Tobacco Cessation National Dissemination Project. The application deadline is May 8.

During the year-long project, practices will integrate tobacco cessation system changes and activities into daily office routines and create a culture that encourages patients to be tobacco-free.

Seventy percent of the 46 million current smokers in the United States would like to quit, according to the AAFP. The AAFP cites evidence that advice from a healthcare professional can more than double smoking cessation success rates, but smokers are often reluctant to ask their physicians for assistance.

The Office Champions Project uses the evidence-based materials from the AAFP’s “Ask and Act” tobacco cessation program, which encourages family physicians to ask all patients about tobacco use, then act to help them quit.

Each participating practice will designate one employee-an “office champion”-
to lead the project, as well as a physician who will ensure that the employee receives the support he or she needs.

The “champion” will improve the practice’s clinical and operational systems by identifying opportunities to better integrate tobacco cessation activities into visits and help create an environment that promotes cessation. Practices that complete the program will receive $2,000 for administrative costs, plus materials for patients and recognition for practices, according to the AAFP.

The national project follows a 13-month pilot program, which concluded in June 2011. During the pilot, the percentage of patient charts with documented tobacco use status increased to 90% from 82%, and the documentation that patients were offered cessation assistance increased to 72% from 48%.

The model produced similar results in a variety of practice sizes and settings and was shown to be implemented and sustained without cumbersome burdens on practice teams.

For the national dissemination project, sites will be selected to ensure a wide geographic representation, a range of practice types and sizes, and a variety of practice settings, from urban to rural. All applications will be considered, but the project is targeting states that have a smoking prevalence rate of greater than 20%.

The program will educate office champions through an online training module, live teleconferences, and a practice manual. The office champions will be required to submit an implementation plan to the AAFP and track and report results.

For more information, visit the Office Champions Web site.

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Jennifer N. Lee, MD, FAAFP
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