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Am J Manag Care. 2005 Aug;11(8):501-7.

Recruiting health plan members receiving pharmacotherapy into smoking cessation counseling.

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Department of Family Practice, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, B107 Clinical Center, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.



Smokers receiving pharmacotherapy and individualized smoking cessation counseling through telephone quitlines have been found to have higher quit rates than smokers receiving pharmacotherapy alone. Health plans are often positioned to encourage their members to use quitline services in addition to pharmacotherapy.


To determine if healthcare members who were receiving pharmacotherapy increased their participation in smoking quitline services after receiving proactive telephone calls or postcards.


Randomized controlled trial.


Health plan members filing pharmacotherapy claims were identified weekly from health plan pharmacy claims data and randomized to 1 of the following 3 conditions: control, recruitment postcard, or recruitment telephone call by a nurse quitline counselor. Enrollment of study members into the quitline program was tracked for 1 month after randomization.


During 5 months, 625 individuals were identified for participation in the study, with the following enrollment into the program: 0% to the control group, 1.3% to the postcard group, and 20.6% to the telephone call group (P < .001 for significance by group). Although costs for the telephone intervention were the most expensive, it was also the most cost effective, given its success in enrolling members into the program.


Proactive telephone calling by smoking cessation nurse counselors to smokers receiving pharmacotherapy may be an effective method of enrolling smokers into a cessation quitline. Health plans should consider proactive telephone recruitment to improve use of quitline services.

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