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NAQC Newsroom: Research

Reaching Out, Inviting Back: Using Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Technology to Recycle Relapsed

Wednesday, January 9, 2013  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
Smokers Back to Quitline Treatment--a Randomized Controlled Trial.
Carlini BH, McDaniel AM, Weaver MT, Kauffman RM, Cerutti B, Stratton RM, Zbikowski SM. BMC Public Health. 2012 Jul 6;12:507.

This study tested the efficacy of interactive voice response (IVR) technology in recycling low-income smokers who had previously used quitline services back to the quitline for a new quit attempt. Nearly 3000 previous quitline callers received an automated call (IVR) to screen for current smoking. Half were randomized to also receive an IVR intervention: automated questions to identify and address barriers to re-cycling in quitline support, followed by an offer to be transferred to the quitline. Of the nearly 3000 participants, 715 (23.9%) were successfully reached by the IVR system. Of those, 27% reported they had quit smoking and were excluded from the study. Of the 521 current smokers included in the study, the quitline re-enrollment rate was 3.3% for the control group and 28.2% for the intervention group (p<.001). Results did not vary by gender, race, ethnicity, or level of education, but recycled smokers were older than smokers who declined a new treatment cycle (mean 45.2 years vs. 41.8 years, p=0.013). Primary reasons reported for not re-enrolling in quitline treatment were low self-efficacy and lack of interest in quitting. Targeted IVR messages addressing these issues resulted in 32% of low self-efficacy smokers and 4.8% of lack of interest smokers re-engaging in a new quitline treatment cycle. The authors conclude that proactive IVR outreach is a promising tool to engage low income, relapsed smokers back into a new cycle of treatment that may decrease tobacco-related disparities.

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