AAFP recruiting 50 practices for tobacco cessation project

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) is recruiting 50 family medicine practices for its Office Champions Tobacco Cessation National Dissemination Project.

During the year-long project, participating practices will integrate tobacco cessation system changes and activities into daily office routines and create a culture that encourages patients to be tobacco-free, according to AAFP.

The organization noted that 70 percent of the 46 million current smokers in the United States would like to quit. AAFP also said there's strong evidence that advice from a health care professional can more than double smoking cessation success rates, but smokers are often reluctant to ask their physician for assistance.

The Office Champions Project uses evidence-based materials from the AAFP’s Ask and Act tobacco cessation program, which encourages family physicians to ask all patients about tobacco use, then to act to help them quit.

This project trains "office champions" to take a leadership role in improving their family medicine practice’s clinical and operational systems. The office champions identify opportunities to better integrate tobacco cessation activities into office visits and help create an environment that promotes cessation.

The national dissemination project follows a 13-month pilot program, which was shown to increase both the percentage of patients who were asked about their tobacco use and the percentage of patients who were offered cessation assistance, AAFP reported.

When the pilot project concluded in June 2011, the percentage of patient charts with documentation of tobacco use status increased from 82.1 percent to 90.2 percent during that period, while the percentage of charts with documentation that patients were offered cessation assistance increased from 47.8 percent to 72.1 percent.

The model produced similar results in a variety of practice sizes and settings -- and was implemented and sustained without burdens on practice teams.

For the national dissemination project, sites will be selected to ensure a wide geographic representation, a range of practice types and sizes, and a variety of practice settings, from urban to rural. All applications will be considered; however, the project is targeting states that have a smoking prevalence rate of greater than 20 percent.

Each participating practice will designate an office champion to lead the project, as well as a physician champion who will ensure that the office champion receives the support he or she needs.

The program will educate office champions through an online training module, live teleconferences and a practice manual. The office champions will be required to submit an implementation plan to the AAFP and track and report results.

Practices that complete the program will receive financial assistance for administrative costs, plus materials for patients and recognition for practices.

The deadline to apply is May 8, 2012. To apply and for more information, visit the Office Champions webpage.

This project is supported by Pfizer Inc.

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