CDC Best Practices User Guide Features TSET Funded Program at the Oklahoma Hospital Association

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published the Best Practices User Guides for Cessation in Tobacco Prevention and Control and the guide featured the TSET-funded program, Hospitals Helping Patients Quit (HHPQ), operated by the Oklahoma Hospital Association (OHA). The guides share evidence-based best practices and translate research into practical guidance for tobacco control programs across the country.

Since they were featured as one of only two case studies in the guide, Tobacco Stops With Me has invited Eric Finley, Health Improvement Initiatives Manager at OHA, to talk about HHPQ in this month’s TSWM Guest Blog.

Guest Blog by Eric Finley, MPH, Health Improvement Initiatives Manager Oklahoma Hospital Association

Challenges For Tobacco Use and The Hospital’s Role

Tobacco use is still Oklahoma’s leading cause of preventable death and a huge healthcare cost driver. HHPQ’s primary objective is to build sustainable support structures in hospitals and clinics so that doctors, nurses and hospital staff can educate patients on the dangers of tobacco use and provide patients with medical support to help them quit. This medical support includes connecting them to the resources available at the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline (OTH).

Oklahoma hospitals admit approximately 120,000 tobacco users each year – many for diseases related to tobacco use. Despite the overwhelming evidence of harm caused by using tobacco, research indicates that only one-third of patients are even asked about their tobacco use or receive information about quitting when visiting a healthcare provider.

It is often difficult to create sustainable tobacco treatment programs without external support. This is due a variety of factors, including the fact that hospitals receive no financial compensation for providing tobacco cessation services, face growing national demands to treat more patients with less funding, and have other competing priorities. TSET’s investment in the HHPQ program uses existing hospital systems and the relationships between hospitals and the Oklahoma Hospital Association to create a unique opportunity to directly support hospital patients with attempts to quit using tobacco.

Research shows that patients who receive tobacco treatment services from their healthcare provider are much more likely to successfully quit when compared to individuals who do not.

The CDC’s Best Practices User Guide

Navigating the waters of health systems change often proves difficult, but OHA’s built-in relationship with hospitals combined with the TSET investment enables HHPQ to be clinical tobacco treatment systems innovators. Across Oklahoma, more than 60 hospitals and 250 clinics have implemented the HHPQ guidelines, resulting hundreds of thousands of doctor/patient discussions and nearly 45,000 referrals to the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline.

At the core of the HHPQ guidelines, hospitals receive assistance in developing Electronic Medical Records (EMR) driven referrals to the OTH for patients ready to quit, including building the first eReferral system with a tribal health system in the United States. This advanced tobacco treatment support for patients saves lives and healthcare dollars.

Beyond the EMR assistance, the program offers pioneering workflow development techniques and training to ensure hospitals can implement the process effectively. Additionally, hospitals receive advanced monthly data reports to capture and track the positive impact they are having among their clients and for the state.

The Future of Hospitals Helping Patients Quit

Oklahoma hospitals and physicians truly appreciate the support they receive from the HHPQ program and OTH in helping their patients quit tobacco. The Oklahoma Hospital Association’s large network of hospitals and clinicians partnering together make this innovative project a model for other states. On top of that, everyone acknowledges that reducing the toll of tobacco on Oklahoma’s family, friends and neighbors is the right thing to do. These hospitals, hospital systems, clinics, providers and their staffs all work in unison to help save lives. It’s another way that Oklahomans can see how TSET is investing in programs that have a reach across the state and an impact for every Oklahoman.


The guide was produced for the CDC by the Center for Public Health Systems Science at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. The Hospitals Helping Patients Quit case study is on pages 46-47.

Published by Tobacco Stops With Me on July 22, 2020