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Assessing the structure of smoking cessation care in the Veterans Health Administration.

Sherman SE, Yano EM, York LS, Lanto AB, Chernof BA, Mittman BS. Assessing the structure of smoking cessation care in the Veterans Health Administration. American Journal of Health Promotion : AJHP. 2006 May 1; 20(5):313-8.

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PURPOSE: National smoking cessation practice guidelines offer recommendations regarding the processes and structure of care. Facilities routinely measure the processes of care but not the structure of care. This pilot study assessed the structure of smoking cessation care at Veterans Health Administration facilities. METHODS: Key informants at 18 sites completed a brief checklist survey adapted from national smoking cessation guidelines. Responses were compared with detailed site surveys. RESULTS: Guideline adherence was seen in identifying smokers and treating inpatient smokers. Areas of low adherence include offering incentives and defining staff responsibilities. The checklist survey showed poor correspondence with the detailed survey, with low agreement on systematic screening (kappa = .21) and higher agreement on primary care prescribing authority (kappa = .53). DISCUSSION: This pilot survey provides a potential rapid method for assessing adherence to systems recommendations from the national smoking cessation guidelines. The relatively low agreement with a more detailed survey suggests that the two surveys may have been measuring different aspects of smoking cessation care.

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