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MDS for Evaluating Quitlines - Technical Documents

Please click on the links below to access the appropriate sections of this page:

NEW: Questions on Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) added to MDS Intake and Follow-up
NEW: NAQC Guidance on Streamlining MDS Intake Questions
NEW: MDS Workgroup Recommendations to Assess Calls Resulting from Graphic Health Warnings on Cigarette Packs
FINAL 2009 MDS Update Documents – December 2009 (Revised in January 2012)
Minimal Data Set Questions Modified for Online Use (Revised in January 2011) 
Additional MDS Tools & Resources
Historical Resources

Questions on Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) added to MDS Intake and Follow-up


NAQC is pleased to announce the addition of questions on Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) to the MDS. NAQC recommends that quitlines incorporate the STANDARD MDS Intake and Follow-up questions on ENDS, as well as any OPTIONAL questions the quitline may choose, beginning January 1, 2016. This will ensure that quitline evaluations begun after January 2016 will include questions necessary for calculating the new NAQC quit rates (please see Calculating Quite Rates, 2015 Update paper). The full report on the new MDS questions on ENDS can be viewed here. The MDS includes STANDARD questions, which are required to be asked of quitline participants, and OPTIONAL questions, which provide standardized language for quitlines that choose to adopt the question.


NAQC Guidance on Streamlining MDS Intake Questions


NAQC has developed two documents to provide guidance to quitlines considering ways to streamline their data collection procedures both to handle large increases in call volume, and to contain costs. NAQC recognizes that decisions regarding intake data are made by both quitline funders/administrators, and service providers. We recommend that these documents be used by both types of organizations in a collaborative effort to arrive at a streamlining solution that works for everyone.

The NAQC Minimal Data Set will not change, and for quitlines that are not experiencing financial constraints, NAQC recommends maintaining the full MDS intake questionnaire; however, NAQC recognizes that each quitline may have unique circumstances it needs to consider as it makes streamlining decisions. NAQC also recognizes that CDC and Health Canada may rely on the MDS as a source of information for evaluating the impact of their upcoming national promotions of quitlines, and we have sought input from both agencies on these issues.

NAQC Guidance Document on Streamlining MDS Intake Questions
In partnership with the MDS Workgroup, NAQC has created a table that identifies for each MDS intake question:

a) NAQC’s assessment of the relative priority for each item

b) The importance of each question for evaluating quitlines;

c) The kinds of information each question provides;

d) The audience(s) that might be interested in each item; and

e) Implications for asking the question to all callers vs. tobacco users interested in help for themselves vs. individuals receiving counseling or medications through the quitline.

NAQC Sample MDS Streamlining discussion Template
This spreadsheet is intended to serve as a facilitative tool for internal discussions between quitline funders/administrators, and quitline service providers. It may also be useful in presenting the results of those internal discussions to quitline stakeholders who may need to be informed about streamlining decisions, or approve them. It is NOT intended to serve as a mandate to be followed without intensive consideration and reflection on each quitline's unique environment, resources, and goals. For quitlines that are not experiencing financial constraints, NAQC recommends maintaining the full MDS intake questionnaire. Please consult the more detailed NAQC Guidance Document (above) that provides the context and rationale for NAQC's initial recommended priority level for each MDS intake item as you engage in your decision making process.

In response to requests from NAQC members and national partners, the NAQC MDS workgroup has convened and made recommendations regarding slight changes to the intake question assessing how tobacco users heard about the quitline to include a national toll-free number on cigarette packages. The new response option is intended to help assess the impact of graphic health warnings on quitline call volume. Since the responses of callers are subject to individual recall, it is worth noting that the data will not provide a complete and 100% accurate measure of direct impact of graphic health warnings on quitline call volume. The proposed modifications will allow for monitoring changes in responses to the "how heard about” question currently on the MDS.

FINAL 2009 MDS Update Documents – December 2009 (Revised in January 2012)

The current 2009 MDS Update is now complete. NAQC has worked closely with CDC to assure the intake and follow-up items for MDS and state reporting requirements for CDC ARRA funding are identical. The following documents comprise the 2009 MDS Update Implementation Guide—intended to provide technical assistance during the MDS implementation process.

NOTE: Users should download and review the Introduction document first and then select the other documents to review as needed.

Minimal Data Set Questions Modified for Online Use (Revised in January 2011)

NAQC is pleased to announce the release of a modified Minimal Data Set suitable for use in an online environment (MDS for Web). The modified MDS questions are OPTIONAL and not required to be used by quitlines. They are provided in response to NAQC member requests for a standardized version of the MDS that is more suitable for use in online environments. The intake and follow-up questions and supporting documents are intended to be used by quitlines as part of a process to enroll potential participants in a telephone counseling program, or to follow-up with participants of a telephone counseling program.

Each quitline should determine if online intake and/or follow-up will work to fit their needs and should consider using the MDS for Web only to the extent that they feel fit with their quitline protocols and technological capacity. MDS for Web should be considered an option rather than a recommendation. Intake and follow-up questions modified for online use and supporting materials are listed below along with a brief description. If you have any questions, please contact NAQC at

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