An EHR-automated and theory-based population health management intervention for smoking cessation in diverse low-income patients of safety-net health centers: a pilot randomized controlled trial

Transl Behav Med. 2022 Oct 7;12(9):892-899. doi: 10.1093/tbm/ibac026.


This study tested the preliminary effectiveness of an electronic health record (EHR)-automated population health management (PHM) intervention for smoking cessation among adult patients of a federally qualified health center in Chicago. Participants (N = 190; 64.7% women, 82.1% African American/Black, 8.4% Hispanic/Latino) were self-identified as smokers, as documented in the EHR, who completed the baseline survey of a longitudinal "needs assessment of health behaviors to strengthen health programs and services." Four weeks later, participants were randomly assigned to the PHM intervention (N = 97) or enhanced usual care (EUC; N = 93). PHM participants were mailed a single-page self-determination theory (SDT)-informed letter that encouraged smoking cessation or reduction as an initial step. The letter also addressed low health literacy and low income. PHM participants also received automated text messages on days 1, 5, 8, 11, and 20 after the mailed letter. Two weeks after mailing, participants were called by the Illinois Tobacco Quitline. EUC participants were e-referred following a usual practice. Participants reached by the quitline were offered behavioral counseling and nicotine replacement therapy. Outcome assessments were conducted at weeks 6, 14, and 28 after the mailed letter. Primary outcomes were treatment engagement, utilization, and self-reported smoking cessation. In the PHM arm, 25.8% of participants engaged in treatment, 21.6% used treatment, and 16.3% were abstinent at 28 weeks. This contrasts with no quitline engagement among EUC participants, and a 6.4% abstinence rate. A PHM approach that can reach all patients who smoke and address unique barriers for low-income individuals may be a critical supplement to clinic-based care.

Trial registration: NCT03077737.

Keywords: Electronic health record system; Low income; Population health management; Quitline; Smoking cessation; Treatment engagement.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Population Health Management*
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Tobacco Use Cessation Devices

Associated data