Two years in the life of a University Hospital tobacco cessation service: Recommendations for improving the quality of referrals

Wendy G. Bjornson, David H. Gonzales, Catherine J. Markin, Noal Clemons, Frances Favela, Trisha M. Coleman, Caroline Koudelka, Jodi A. Lapidus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Hospitalization, when patients may be more receptive to quitting, provides an opportunity to provide tobacco cessation services for patients who otherwise might not seek help. Although specialized tobacco cessation services are shown to be effective if evidence-based treatment, including follow-up, is completed, resources are limited and guidelines are needed, and few smokers complete all treatment steps. Experience drawn from an analysis of two-year implementation data from the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Tobacco Cessation Consult Service is presented. Methods: Data for 5,827 smokers discharged from OHSU University hospital between January 2011 and December 2012 were analyzed to determine patient characteristics and identify predictors of completing each of four treatment steps: consult ordered, consult completed, follow-up arranged, and follow-up completed. Results: Smokers were younger and male (p < 0.0001) and significantly different with respect to insurance class, admission type, history of mental disorders, primary discharge diagnoses, and length of stay (p < 0.0001) than nonsmokers. Predictors of having a tobacco consult order were admission for elective medical procedures; orders for medications to treat withdrawal; history of mental health/substance use disorders; primary diagnoses of cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, or pulmonary disease; and longer hospitalizations. Smokers admitted through the emergency department had the lowest rates of follow-up completion and abstinence. Admission for an elective surgery was the only predictor of completing all treatment steps through follow-up (p ≤ 0.05). Conclusions: This study adds important information about how hospitalized smokers respond to each step of tobacco treatment in a real-world setting and offers strategies for improving referrals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-218
Number of pages10
JournalJoint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management


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