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This Valentine’s Day, are you dreaming of the perfect quitline?

Posted By Natalia A. Gromov, Monday, February 13, 2012

We are! We asked Ann Wendling, MD, MPH, Medical Director, Tobacco Cessation at Healthways, Inc. and member of NAQC’s Advisory Council to do a little dreaming for us and to describe a "gold-standard” or perfect quitline. Here is what she had to say:

"The following are attributes of the "gold-standard” quitline, operated cost-effectively, but without funding constraint.

  • The ideal quitline, a partnership of the funder(s) and service provider, has a clear purpose, well–defined goals and clear decision making processes.
  • The quitline operates transparently as a flexible learning organization. It seamlessly integrates other technological modalities and implements forward thinking strategies to improve processes and outcomes, while maintaining core evidence based services.
  • To maximize reach and impact, funding is available for the provision of free comprehensive services to all eligible tobacco users, whether through public or private payers or various partnerships, thereof.
  • All tobacco users and health care providers within the service area are aware of the quitline – through promotion, provider outreach and fax referral or other modalities.
  • Services are easily accessible, either reactively through an easy to recall phone number, text or online registration, etc., or proactively through timely outreach after referral to the quitline. Coaching is available on first day of contact.
  • Community (cultural) competency is a priority of the quitline and services are provided in languages appropriate to the service area.
  • Call center metrics meet or exceed industry standards and incorporate specific funder goals. Coach staffing hours and ratios are smartly forecasted and managed to optimize service and maximize center efficiency. The center has the infrastructure and staff capacity to handle surges resulting from promotions, policy implementation, etc.; and conversely, to respond in a timely fashion to decreased volumes.
  • Coaches are well trained, ideally in accordance with ATTUD’s TTS recommended core competencies, and are experienced in applying proven behavioral change theory. They have the opportunity for continuing professional development and remain current on funder protocols.
  • Protocols include a minimum of four coaching calls, sensitively timed pre- and post- quit, with the option for the caller to reactively contact the center at any time for additional support. NAQC’s MDS intake and evaluation question sets are followed. (Note: NAQC’s FY10 survey indicates that in the U.S., the median number of calls completed was 2.2 calls; in Canada, the median was 3.7 calls.)
  • All FDA approved NRT is available for the recommended treatment duration through barrier-free direct mail split shipment fulfillment. Provisions are in place for fulfillment to those with contra-indicated conditions and for prescription meds through fax or electronic communication with health care providers.
  • Reporting on all MDS items, program utilization and call center metrics is regularly provided to funders in a timely fashion. The provider database allows for specific funder queries.
  • Ongoing evaluation examines reach and marketing/promotion impact, call center metrics, coaching performance, medication fulfillment, caller satisfaction and quit rates to inform continuous quality improvement.
  • Quit rates meet or exceed industry standards and callers express a high level of satisfaction with services.”

Thanks, Ann, for taking time out of your busy schedule to dream a bit! Why don’t you do a little dreaming right now and tell us what you think makes a perfect quitline? Do you have anything to add to Ann’s list of qualities?

Tags:  Ann Wendling  gold-standard  Healthways  perfect quitline 

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