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Drug Alcohol Rev. 2009 Jan;28(1):60-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1465-3362.2008.00003.x.

Providing comprehensive smoking cessation care to surgical patients: the case for computers.

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Hunter New England Population Health, Newcastle, Australia.



The provision of smoking cessation care to surgical patients before admission can reduce post-operative complications and encourage long-term smoking cessation. Our aim was to show how a comprehensive computer-based smoking cessation intervention, developed to enhance smoking cessation care to surgical patients, addresses barriers to care provision.


Consultations with preoperative clinic staff and reviews of the scientific literature were conducted and identified the following barriers to the provision of effective smoking cessation care: a lack of organisational support, perceived patient objection, a lack of systems to identify smokers, a lack of staff time and skill, perceived inability to change care practices, a perceived lack of efficacy of cessation care and the cost of providing care. Based on positive findings of a pilot trial, a comprehensive computer-based smoking cessation intervention was implemented in a preoperative clinic. Data from previous evaluations of the intervention were used to assess the extent to which the intervention addressed clinician barriers to care.


The computer-based intervention was found to provide a means to accurately and systematically identify smokers; it required little clinical staff time or skill; it was considered an acceptable form of care by staff and patients; it was effective in encouraging patient cessation and it was inexpensive to deliver relative to other surgical costs. Furthermore, the computer-based intervention continues to operate in the preoperative clinic in the absence of ongoing research support.


The implementation of such a model of care should be considered by clinical services interested in reducing the smoking related morbidity and mortality of patients.

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