Introduction: Continued smoking by cancer patients causes adverse cancer treatment outcomes, but few patients receive evidence-based smoking cessation as a standard of care.
Aim: To evaluate practical strategies to promote wide-scale dissemination and implementation of evidence-based tobacco cessation services within state cancer centers.
Methods: A Collaborative Learning Model (CLM) for Quality Improvement was evaluated with three community oncology practices to identify barriers and facilitate practice change to deliver evidence-based smoking cessation treatments to cancer patients using standardized assessments and referrals to statewide smoking cessation resources. Patients were enrolled and tracked through an automated data system and received follow-up cessation support post-enrollment. Monthly quantitative reports and qualitative data gathered through interviews and collaborative learning sessions were used to evaluate meaningful quality improvement changes in each cancer center.
Results: Baseline practice evaluation for the CLM identified the lack of tobacco use documentation, awareness of cessation guidelines, and awareness of services for patients as common barriers. Implementation of a structured assessment and referral process demonstrated that of 1,632 newly registered cancer patients,1,581 (97%) were screened for tobacco use. Among those screened, 283 (18%) were found to be tobacco users. Of identified tobacco users, 207 (73%) were advised to quit. Referral of new patients who reported using tobacco to an evidence-based cessation program increased from 0% at baseline across all three cancer centers to 64% (range = 30%–89%) during the project period.
Conclusions: Implementation of quality improvement learning collaborative models can dramatically improve delivery of guideline-based tobacco cessation treatments to cancer patients.