A Heart Healthy Intervention Improved Tobacco Screening Rates and Cessation Support in Primary Care Practices

J Prev (2022). 2022 Jun;43(3):375-386. doi: 10.1007/s10935-022-00672-5. Epub 2022 Mar 17.


We examined whether an evidence-based cardiovascular disease risk reduction intervention (Heart Health Now) would improve rates for tobacco cessation screening and counseling in small primary care practices in North Carolina. Heart Health Now was a stepped wedge, stratified, cluster randomized trial for primary care practices that were staffed by 10 or fewer clinicians and had an electronic health record. The Heart Health Now intervention consisted of education tools, onsite practice facilitation for one year, and a practice-specific cardiovascular population management dashboard that included monthly, measure-specific run charts to help guide quality improvement. Our primary outcomes were practice-level rates of tobacco screening and tobacco cessation support-extracted from practices' electronic health records-and measured at pre-intervention and 6 months post-intervention. The 28 practices included in our analyses represented 78,120 patients and 17,687 smokers. Significant change occurred in practices' tobacco screening rates and cessation support rates over time. From pre- to post-intervention, screening rates significantly increased from 82.7 to 96.2% (p < 0.001). Similarly, cessation support rates significantly increased from 44.3 to 50.1% (p = 0.03). Several practice-level factors were associated with improvement including being in an academic health center or faculty practice, having more clinicians, and having a lower percentage of White patients. In conclusion, a multi-component intervention focused on multiple cardiovascular disease risk reduction in multiple small primary care practices successfully improved rates of tobacco screening and cessation support.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Primary Health Care
  • Tobacco
  • Tobacco Use Cessation*