Electronic health records assist clinicians in smoking treatment

Clinical question: 
How effective are electronic health record (EHR)-facilitated interventions at increasing smoking cessation support actions by clinicians, and when it comes to patient cessation outcomes?
Bottom line: 
At least in the short term, documentation of tobacco status and referral to cessation counselling appeared to increase following the introduction of an expectation to use the EHR to record and treat patient tobacco use at medical visits. However, patient smoking cessation was not demonstrated.
As few randomised studies existed, it was not possible to conduct a meta-analysis. Eight of the 11 studies were nonrandomised observational studies, and 5 of these lacked a control group. Small sample sizes and convenience sampling of included clinics increased the potential risk of selection bias. None of the studies included a direct assessment of patient quit rates.
Health information systems, such as EHRs, computerised decision-support systems and electronic prescribing, are potentially valuable components for improving the quality and efficiency of clinical interventions for tobacco use.
Review CD#: 
February, 2012
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy