Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Doctors Do a Poor Job of Urging Smokers to Quit. (Time Is Limiting Factor)

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Doctors Do a Poor Job of Urging Smokers to Quit. (Time Is Limiting Factor)

Article excerpt

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.--Physicians need to do a better job advising their patients to quit using tobacco, two researchers asserted at a conference on patient education sponsored by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine.

The federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recommends that physicians counsel patients on tobacco use with a strategy known as the "Five A's":

1. Asking about tobacco use.

2. Advising the patient to quit.

3. Assessing the patient's readiness to quit.

4. Assisting the patient with tools and support.

5. Arranging for follow-up.

But a recent study of 51 clinics in Michigan showed that less than 36% of surveyed patients reported that a physician even asked about their tobacco use, and, of those, only 45% were advised to quit, reported Jodi Holtrop, Ph.D., resident network coordinator of the department of family practice at Michigan State University, East Lansing.

And a study of 14 health clinics in Minnesota showed only a slightly higher counseling rate, despite an administrative push to include tobacco counseling in every patient visit, said Dr. Donald Pine, a family physician with Park Nicollet Health Services, Minneapolis.

Dr. Holtrop's ongoing study consists of exit surveys conducted on all patients leaving selected clinics, and is conducted at each clinic for 2 half-days. All patients 18 years or older are interviewed.

Most (60%) of the clinics were family practice; 25% were internal medicine, and about 14% were ob.gyn. practices. So far, 1,028 patients have completed the survey; about 17% of those were smokers.

Even though physicians did advise almost half (45%) of the smokers to quit, most physicians were apparently just lecturing, not sharing useful information about how to do it. Only 19% of smokers said their physician gave them information on tobacco cessation, such as a quit-line phone number, a referral for more information, printed information about quitting, or information about quitting programs. …

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