A health information exchange (HIE) from the Alpharetta, Ga.-based Holon Solutions has made it easier for physicians to refer their patients who want to kick the habit to the Texas Tobacco Quitline, the vendor has announced.
Studies show that patients are 30 times more likely to enroll in tobacco cessation counseling programs if clinicians refer them than if they receive information about services on their own. Using the CollaborNet HIE system from Holon has helped even more, according to preliminary results.
Under an initial pilot at several Austin healthcare facilities, the state of Texas implemented an electronic protocol that made it easier for physicians to refer their patients to the Texas Tobacco Quitline. As a result, clinical referrals increased in the first year from seven paper-based referrals to 1,254 electronic referrals by the second year.
The Quitline is a free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week service that offers the option of phone counseling sessions or a classroom-based cessation program, plus two weeks of complimentary nicotine replacement therapy.
Currently, the Holon HIE solution is being used for electronic referrals to the Quitline tobacco cessation program at two rural hospitals: Wilbarger General Hospital, a 47-bed facility in Vernon, Texas, and Clay County Memorial Hospital, a 25-bed facility in Henrietta, Texas. The pilot also includes physicians in each community participating with the hospitals. Both healthcare organizations are members of the Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals (TORCH).
“The e-tobacco protocol implemented with Holon’s HIE solution provides the opportunity for physicians and other clinicians to refer patients to tobacco cessation resources with one click,” Shelly Summers-Karn, director of the Texas Tobacco Education, Cessation and Community Coalition Program based at the University of Texas-Austin, said in a news release statement. “The electronic process makes the referral process so much easier, more efficient and more effective than the paper-based process.”
The Texas tobacco cessation program hopes to expand the footprint of the electronic referral program using the Holon HIE system to many more healthcare facilities at a reduced cost. The CollaborNet HIE system also aims to eliminate the need to implement costly and time-consuming interfaces between Quitline and the hundreds of electronic medical record (EMR) systems used by providers across the state, its officials say.