Healthcare providers (including, but not limited to, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, health educators, dental professionals, etc.) can access all of the tobacco cessation resources for their patients through one simple protocol meant to be integrated into an Electronic Medical Record. The tool is meant to be integrated into an Electronic Medical Record. Consequently, during each visit, the patient is assessed to determine their current tobacco use and assisted in quitting tobacco if they are willing to quit.
Healthcare systems are charged with meeting standards of care called Meaningful Use (MU). The MU guidelines have tobacco cessation requirements, in which the tobacco tool will help healthcare systems reach their meaningful use guidelines. Through formative research, including consultation with experts in health care delivery and tobacco prevention and control, we recognized that Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) are the most sustainable medium for developing and implementing a system change model for tobacco cessation.
The protocol is designed to complement an existing EMR system or to be integrated into one that is being designed. The purpose of the protocol is to assist the clinician/physician with a sustainable delivery method for tobacco cessation assistance, whether it be for prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, or tobacco counseling assistance. The overall integration of the protocol should focus on areas with a large reach, for example, large healthcare systems.
The protocol can be promoted to your local hospital system as an accessory to an existing or developing Electronic Medical Record system. Connecting with the hospital system can include working with the Director of Information Technology or the Chief Information Officer. A smaller healthcare system often may not have these titles; the best approach is to find out who is working to incorporate the new technology in your healthcare system.