Putting Public Health Into Practice – A Partnership
Submission Date: September 2019
State/Territory Submitted on the Behalf of: Alaska
States/Territories Involved: Alaska
Funding Source: State/local sourcesCDC Funding:
State fundingDomain Addressed:
Health Systems StrategiesPublic Health Issue:
Alaska attributes nearly 700 deaths annually to smoking related diseases
Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in Alaska.
Each year tobacco causes more deaths than suicide, motor vehicle crashes, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, homicide and HIV/AIDS combined
More than half tobacco users surveyed reported they wanted to quit.
Providers are overburdened in a clinical setting and want evidence based resources to refer their patients.Project Objectives:
Identify barriers experienced by Alaska Tobacco Quit Line clients.
Identify barriers experienced by providers referring patients to Alaska Tobacco Quit Line.
Increase referrals from healthcare providers.
Measure the referral process to develop standards for Alaska healthcare organizations.Program Action:
Alaska’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program developed a partnership with Alaska Heart and Vascular Institute to develop a tobacco cessation referral process to ensure their patients were being screened and referred to an evidence based service 100% of the time.
We used the Ask Advise Connect: A New Approach to Smoking Treatment Delivery in Healthcare Settings as a guide.
The Alaska Heart and Vascular Institute trained one staff person as a Tobacco Treatment Specialist to conduct interventions after a provider had seen the patient and advised them to quit using tobacco. This allowed Alaska Heart and Vascular Institute to use staff time efficiently and ensure consistency in the process.
The Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, Alaska Heart and Vascular Institute and Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line worked together closely to identify barriers experienced by patients referred to improve the customer service of the quitline.Data/Other Information Collected:
Data was collected through tracking sheets by Alaska Heart and Vascular Institute employees and compared to
Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line standard reports to ensure consistency.
New queries were developed by Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line to address gaps in data collection.
Weekly meetings were conducted with Alask’a Tobacco Prevention and Control Program manager, Alaska’s
Heart and Vascular Institute staff and Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line representative to address complaints.
Within 7 months Alaska’s Heart and Vascular Institute were screening 100% of their patients for tobacco use
In that time they also referred more than all other Alaska providers combined
We found that patients who were referred by Alaska’s Heart and Vascular Institute were also twice as likely to accept calls from Alaska’ Tobacco Quit Line and make a quit attemptChallenges/Lessons Learned:
Alaska Heart and Vascular Institute found that one Tobacco Treatment Specialist alone could not reach all patients.
A complaint process needed to be implemented to address patient complaints. Through the weekly meetings Alaska’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program identified misconceptions of the services by both patients and providers. Providing clear communication on the services the quitline provided and why was key to make providers comfortable in referring their patients.
All providers at Alaska’s Heart and Vascular Institute were more likely to advise patients to quit using tobacco when they had a referral process to an evidence based service and didn’t have to spend time helping patients navigate the process.
Alaska Heart and Vascular Institute did not need to spend staff time tracking patient outcomes when they linked with Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line. Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line reports provided information needed to evaluate their referral process.Next Steps:
Alaska Heart and Vascular Institute trained all of their Certified Medical Assistance on their referral process.
Alaska’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program continue to meet weekly with Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line to address any complaints by providers or clients.
Alaska’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program is developing updated materials for providers and patients. Materials are developed for each audience to address the questions and misconceptions found through weekly meetings.
Alaska’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program is sharing results with other healthcare organizations and using new reports to help evaluate referral processes.
Alaska Heart and Vascular Institute is expanding their partnership with the State of Alaska to include Comprehensive Cancer and develop a Lung Cancer Screening referral process.Primary web link for more information:
Public Health Practice, TobaccoState Contact Information:
Tobacco Prevention and Control