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Changing practice patterns as a result of implementing the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research guideline in 20 primary care clinics
  1. Joachim Roski
  1. Allina Health Systems, MS-80765,5801 Smetana Drive, Minnetonka, Minnesota 55343, USA;

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Project QUIT (Quality in Tobacco Control) examines the implementation of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) guideline on smoking cessation at Allina Health System (AHS).1 As this is an ongoing project, the data presented is preliminary. It has been established that the identification of smokers and brief advice to quit constitute an effective smoking cessation intervention for patient populations. Currently, providers around the country only follow guideline recommendations to identify patients’ tobacco use status and to provide brief advice to quit between 40–60% of the time.2

AHS is the largest healthcare system in Minnesota and consists of an administrative unit, the “health plan” and a care-oriented “delivery” arm. AHS’s health plan (Medica Health Plans) currently enrols approximately 1.1 million individuals and entails a network of more than 9000 providers. On its “delivery side” Allina includes 20 owned or managed hospitals, and a large group practice consisting of 57 mostly primary care clinics, in addition to home healthcare services, nursing homes, transportation services, and other business units. These delivery sites contract with a multitude of payers including AHS’s own health plan. Overall, AHS touches the lives of approximately 2.5 million individuals each year.


The objectives of our ongoing project are twofold: (a) to determine if clinic practice patterns change as a result of an intervention aiming to implement the AHCPR guideline on smoking cessation, and (b) to determine if patients seen in clinics exposed to this intervention are more likely to quit smoking. The preliminary data associated with the first objective are presented here.


This study was launched within AHS’s group practice organisation, …

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