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Aust N Z J Public Health. 1999 Dec;23(6):654-6.

How accurate is in-patient smoking status data collected by hospital admissions staff?

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, University of Sydney, New South Wales. psch1898@mail.usyd.edu.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the validity of self-reported in-patient smoking status data collected by admissions staff.

METHOD:

Smoking status of new inpatients was recorded on to the computer registration screen. Urine samples collected from the patients (n = 167) were analysed for the presence of cotinine.

RESULTS:

Only 63% (95% CI 46%-81%) of the patients classified as smokers on the basis of urinary cotinine levels were recorded as smokers on the computerised record created by hospital admissions staff.

CONCLUSIONS:

Admissions staff do not obtain reliable data on smoking status. However, most patients entered as non-smokers by admissions staff but registering high cotinine levels were subsequently recorded as smokers by their doctor in their medical record.

IMPLICATIONS:

This study suggests that inpatients are more likely to report their smoking status accurately to their doctor than an admissions clerk, but about two-thirds of smokers will be correctly identified at admission and so could be targeted in computer-driven smoking-cessation interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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