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NAQC Newsroom: Research

Implementing a Fax Referral Program for Quitline Smoking Cessation Services

Friday, April 30, 2010  
Implementing a fax referral program for quitline smoking cessation services in urban health centers: a qualitative study.
Cantrell J, Shelley D. BMC Fam Prac. 2009 Dec 17;10:81.

This study examined the systems-level changes needed to implement and sustain a fax referral program in primary care. Three focus groups (n=26) and eight key informant interviews were conducted with staff and physicians at two clinics after a fax referral intervention. Benefits of the fax referral program cited by participants were numerous, but there were many barriers. Barriers included that the process of referring was time-consuming, many patients resist referral, and information and care delivery systems have limitations for referring and tracking smokers. Potential strategies for improving integration included simplifying the referral form, formal assignment of responsibility for referrals, ongoing staff training and patient education. Quitline feedback enhancements would also be useful to compensate for limitations of internal information systems for tracking smokers.

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