A content analysis of electronic health record (EHR) functionality to support tobacco treatment

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Government regulations have created new incentives for health systems to implement changes in electronic health records (EHRs) to reduce tobacco use among patients. The purpose of this study is to conduct a content analysis of EHR modifications aimed at supporting tobacco cessation and to document these modifications using a 5 A's framework (i.e., Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, Arrange). Fourteen trials were identified that met inclusion criteria. A content analysis of EHR functionality in these trials was conducted by two independent reviewers between February and June 2015. For “Ask,” all trials provided for the documentation of smoking status in the EHR. For “Advise,” 35.7 % of EHRs provided functionality related to helping a clinician provide advice to quit. For “Assess,” more than half (57.1 %) of EHRs included a feature to document a patient's willingness to quit. For “Assist,” EHRs offered features for medication prescribing (78.6 %), providing educational materials to patients (57.1 %), referring a patient to the quitline (50.0 %), referring a patient to a tobacco treatment specialist (42.9 %), and documenting the provision of counseling (35.7 %). Finally, for “Arrange,” EHRs supported the following up of patients (35.7 %) and allowed tobacco treatment specialists to “pass back” patient notes to primary care providers (28.6 %). Studies that have modified EHRs for tobacco treatment have done so across the steps in the 5 As model, with most modifications occurring to support documenting smoking status (Ask) and assisting with medication prescribing (Assist). As health systems attempt to comply with Meaningful Use regulations, an understanding of the range of EHR modifications to support tobacco treatment is warranted.


Copyright 2016 Oxford University Press

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Translational behavioral medicine

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Schindler-Ruwisch, J. M., Abroms, L. C., Bernstein, S. L., & Heminger, C. L. (2016). A content analysis of electronic health record (EHR) functionality to support tobacco treatment. Translational behavioral medicine, 7(2), 148-156. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13142-016-0446-0.



Peer Reviewed