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Quality of Care

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Quitting Smoking - Discussing Medications

2017 HEDIS Bar Chart for Quitting Smoking – Discussing Medications graph: VA average 93 percent, non-VA average 52 percent

The graph above shows VA medical center scores compared with non-VA hospital scores for discussing medication strategies to quit smoking. The percentages represent the number of patients aged 18 or older who were current smokers and discussed medications to help stop smoking. For this measure, a higher percentage indicates a higher quality of care, with 100 percent being the target.

What is this measure?
Smoking and tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, causing more than 430,700 deaths each year. Over 47 million Americans smoke or use tobacco, despite the risks. Seventy percent of smokers are interested in stopping smoking completely. A number of clinical trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of clinical quit-smoking programs. Getting even brief advice to quit is associated with a 30 percent increase in the number of people who quit.

What are we measuring?
The number of patients 18 years or older who were current smokers and indicated that their doctor or health care provider discussed medication to assist with quitting smoking.

Why is this important?
Quitting smoking reduces the risk of lung and other cancers, heart attack, stroke and chronic lung disease. Women who stop smoking before pregnancy or during the first three months of pregnancy reduce their risk of having a low-birth-weight baby to the same risk as women who never smoked. The excess risk of coronary artery disease is reduced by about half one year after quitting, and continues to decline gradually.