Support for Smoking Cessation Interventions in Physician Organizations: Results From a National Study

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Objectives.To document the extent to which physician organizations, defined as medical groups and independent practice associations, are providing support for smoking cessation interventions and to identify external incentives and organizational characteristics associated with this support.Methods.This research uses data from the National Study of Physician Organizations and the Management of Chronic Illness, conducted by the University of California at Berkeley, to document the extent to which physician organizations provide support for smoking cessation interventions. Of 1587 physician organizations nationally with 20 or more physicians, 1104 participated, for a response rate of 70%.Results.Overall, 70% of physician organizations offered some support for smoking cessation interventions. Specifically, 17% require physicians to provide interventions, 15% evaluate interventions, 39% of physician organizations offer smoking health promotion programs, 25% provide nicotine replacement therapy starter kits, and materials are provided on pharmacotherapy (39%), counseling (37%), and self-help (58%). Factors positively associated with organizational support include income or public recognition for quality measures, financial incentives to promote smoking cessation interventions, requirements to report HEDIS (Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set) scores, awareness of the 1996 Clinical Practice Guideline on Smoking Cessation, being a medical group, organizational size, percentage of primary care physicians, and hospital/HMO ownership of the organization.Conclusion. Physician organizations are providing support for smoking cessation interventions, yet the level of support might be improved with more extensive use of external incentives. Financial incentives targeted specifically at promoting smoking cessation interventions need to be explored further. Additionally, emphasis on quality measures should continue, including an expansion of HEDIS smoking cessation measures.

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