Smoking Cessation, Physicians and Medical Office Staff: A Significant Opportunity for Clinical Tobacco Intervention in Prince Edward Island

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Canadian Family Physician



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OBJECTIVE: To assess attitudes and self-reported behaviours of physicians and medical office staff in Prince Edward Island concerning clinical tobacco intervention (CTI).

DESIGN: Mail survey of PEI primary care physicians and their medical office staff. Most surveys were not mailed back but picked up in person by research staff.

SETTING: Primary care settings in PEI.

PARTICIPANTS: All active primary care physicians in PEI identified in the Canadian Medical Association database and medical office staff. Respondents included 63/88 (71.6%) physicians and 59/88 (67.0%) medical office staff. Fifty-seven physicians and medical office staff surveys overlapped.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Attitudes and self-reported behaviours in CTI.

RESULTS: More than 70% of the time, 68.3% of physicians reported asking new patients about their smoking behaviour and 66.7% reported that they listen to and acknowledge patients' feelings and fears about stopping smoking. Close to half (43.3%) of physicians reported thinking about or planning to do more CTI. Physicians and medical office staff reported that staff had limited involvement in Methods to cue smoking interventions. Only half (50.8%) of physicians reported that their offices are well set up to identify smokers and to help them quit smoking. Offices were well set up for CTI if physicians perceived that office staff had an active role in CTI and if follow-up visits were frequently arranged.

CONCLUSIONS: This study identified apparent opportunities for improving CIT, particularly in the areas of physician training, involvement of medical office staff, and awareness of billing codes. This could improve the quality of preventive care for patients in PEI.

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