Mobile Tools Boost Tobacco Screening and Cessation Counseling

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Mobile Tools Boost Tobacco Screening and Cessation Counseling

April 1, 2014~ Smartphones and tablets may hold the key to getting more clinicians to screen patients for tobacco use and advise smokers on how to quit. Even though tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S., clinicians often don’t ask about smoking during patient exams. Using mobile phones loaded with tobacco screening guidelines prompted nurses to ask patients about their smoking habits in 84 percent of clinic visits and to offer cessation counseling to 99 percent of smokers who expressed a willingness to kick the habit, according to a study from Columbia University School of Nursing published in Oncology Nursing Forum. “These findings suggest that mobile applications can play a significant role in curbing tobacco use,” says lead study author Kenrick Cato, PhD, associate research scientist at Columbia Nursing. Currently, U.S. patients are screened for tobacco use in about 60 percent of office visits, and smokers are advised on how to quit less than 20 percent of the time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “These findings are a win in the ongoing battle against tobacco use, and they also point to a broader benefit of mobile applications in getting more clinicians to follow evidence-based practice guidelines,” Cato says.

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