QuitWorks: a solution for providers to help patients quit smoking.
Massachusetts Department of Public Health

The QuitWorks Story

Starting out
Expanding the service to include hospitals, health centers, and large practices
Recent efforts to build QuitWorks

Starting out
In 1994, the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program (MTCP) , for many years known as the Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program, funded the Smokers Helpline, a telephone-based quit smoking counseling service.

By 2000, MTCP recognized that providers needed a reliable and easy way to refer tobacco-using patients to smoking cessation counseling.  In December of that year, MTCP partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts to design a prototype fax-referral program, operated by the Massachusetts Smokers Helpline.

Because providers in Massachusetts typically participate in five health plans or more, MTCP wanted to create a system that could be used by any provider participating in any health plan. This led MTCP to form a partnership with major commercial and Medicaid plans in the state to build and collectively launch the QuitWorks program.

The program was launched in April 2002 with a goal of signing up 4,500 provider practices. Seven health plans trained a total of 100 of their provider representatives to deliver the QuitWorks package door-to-door to thousands of practices.

Expanding the service to include hospitals and health centers

By 2003, Tufts New England Medical Center and several other Massachusetts hospitals expressed a need for the QuitWorks program, in part to meet Joint Commission core measures.  The hospitals also recognized the need to have a free or low-cost tobacco cessation resource for their patients.

In response, QuitWorks expanded its services to include large practices, health centers, and hospitals. This step created a continuum of effective treatment interventions that encompass a wide range of providers, from solo practices to large practices, health centers, and hospitals, and that cover interactions in the outpatient and hospital setting.

In 2005, MTCP set a goal of putting QuitWorks in all 63 Massachusetts acute care and teaching hospitals by 2008.  This was done primarily by responding to requests from hospitals that learned about QuitWorks through word of mouth.  To further build QuitWorks, MTCP launched special demonstration projects to integrate tobacco interventions and QuitWorks into Massachusetts Community Health Centers and public health programs, such as the Women’s Health Network.

Recent efforts to build QuitWorks
In 2008, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics (Massachusetts chapter), and the Massachusetts General Hospital, Clinical Effort to Address Second-hand Smoke Exposure program (CEASE), launched QuitWorks for Child and Family Practitioners.

In 2009, additional goals were established to introduce quality improvements in the QuitWorks program and to expand and increase sustainability of the program in hospitals and community health centers that use QuitWorks.


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