Will healthcare take tobacco addiction seriously? Using policy to drive practice.

C. T. Orleans, D. B. Abrams, J. C. Gruman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite being the leading preventable cause of disability, death, and economic burden on society, tobacco-use detection and treatment is yet to be taken as seriously as the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases or other addictive behaviors (eg, hypertension, diabetes, alcohol/substance abuse, and mammography screening). This paper outlines the process of intervening at the policy level to incorporate tobacco-use screening and treatment in health practice. The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) call for new measures presented a window of opportunity. The NCQA report card (the Health Plan Employer Data Information Set [HEDIS]) is the most widely used and influential performance measure in managed care. Consequently, a 6-month process consisting of an expert panel review of research evidence and consensus building was initiated. Two measures were submitted to NCQA: (1) a primary measure based on chart review of tobacco-use screening and treatment implementation and (2) an adjunctive measure of population prevalence of tobacco use and physician advice to quit, based on a self-report survey of members. HEDIS eventually accepted the second measure. The mixed results, potential impact on societal disease burden and cost savings, and the lessons learned from the process are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15
Number of pages1
JournalMedGenMed : Medscape general medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 30 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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