Office Champions Project Doubles Rate of Patient Tobacco Cessation Assistance

After National Dissemination Project’s Success, Model is Focusing on Underserved Areas

Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013


LEAWOOD, Kan. — The American Academy of Family Physicians is committed to educating its members and providing the resources needed to help patients quit using tobacco, and results of the Office Champions Tobacco Cessation National Dissemination Project show a dramatic increase in patients being offered tobacco cessation assistance.

During the year-long project, 50 family medicine practices integrated tobacco cessation system activities into daily office routines and created a culture that encourages patients to be tobacco free. More than half of the practices were located in states with adult smoking prevalence rates of 20 percent or greater.

Participating practices documented the tobacco use of roughly 93 percent of their patients, a 5-percent increase over the baseline. More dramatically, the percentage of patients who were offered tobacco cessation assistance more than doubled from roughly 36 percent to more than 74 percent.

More than two-thirds of the 46 million current smokers in the United States would like to quit. There is 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.

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 Office Champions project uses the 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.

Office champions completed an online training program and participated in teleconferences to learn about strategies for implementing these changes and to share their experiences.

Building upon the success of the national dissemination project, the AAFP is bringing the Office Champions model to practices in underserved communities, which typically have higher tobacco use rates.

The AAFP is now recruiting 20 Federally Qualified Health Centers for the Office Champions Tobacco Cessation FQHC Project. This project will provide practical strategies through an online training module, live teleconferences and assorted materials for making system changes in medical practices to improve tobacco cessation activities.

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 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 $2,000 financial assistance for administrative costs, plus materials for patients and recognition for practices.

To apply and for more information, please visit the Office Champions webpage. Applications will be accepted through March 22, 2013.

This project is supported by Pfizer Inc.

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 136,700 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

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