Health benefits and economic advantages associated with increased utilization of a smoking cessation program.

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Rationale, aim & objective: The goal of this study was to examine the health and economic impacts related to increased utilization of the Duke Smoking Cessation Program resulting from the addition of two relatively new referral methods - Best Practice Advisory and Population Outreach. Materials & methods: In a companion paper 'Comparison of Referral Methods into a Smoking Cessation Program', we report results from a retrospective, observational, comparative effectiveness study comparing the impact of three referral methods - Traditional Referral, Best Practice Advisory and Population Outreach on utilization of the Duke Smoking Cessation Program. In this paper we take the next step in this comparative assessment by developing a Markov model to estimate the improvement in health and economic outcomes when two referral methods - Best Practice Advisory and Population Outreach - are added to Traditional Referral. Data used in this analysis were collected from Duke Primary Care and Disadvantaged Care clinics over a 1-year period (1 October 2017-30 September 2018). Results: The addition of two new referral methods - Best Practice Advisory and Population Outreach - to Traditional Referral increased the utilization of the Duke Smoking Cessation Program in Primary Care clinics from 129 to 329 smokers and in Disadvantaged Care clinics from 206 to 401 smokers. The addition of these referral methods was estimated to result in 967 life-years gained, 408 discounted quality-adjusted life-years saved and total discounted lifetime direct healthcare cost savings of US$46,376,285. Conclusion: Health systems may achieve increased patient health and decreased healthcare costs by adding Best Practice Advisory and Population Outreach strategies to refer patients to smoking cessation services.





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Datta, Santanu K, Paul A Dennis and James M Davis (2020). Health benefits and economic advantages associated with increased utilization of a smoking cessation program. Journal of comparative effectiveness research. 10.2217/cer-2020-0005 Retrieved from

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Paul Anthony Dennis

Associate Professor in Population Health Sciences

Developmental psychologist, statistician, and data scientist. Research focused on cardiovascular risk associated with psychiatric illness and trauma exposure, intraindivdiual variability in symptoms and affect, and the use of mobile apps and devices for health and behavior monitoring and interventions. Interest in longitudinal and repeated-measures analyses, mediation analyses, machine learning, and applications to administrative healthcare data.


James Davis

Associate Professor of Medicine

Dr. James Davis is a practicing physician of Internal Medicine, and serves as the Medical Director for Duke Center for Smoking Cessation, Director of the Duke Smoking Cessation Program and Co-Director of the Duke-UNC Tobacco Treatment Specialist Credentialing Program.  His research focuses on development of new pharmaceutical treatments for smoking cessation.  He is principal investigator on several trials including a study on “adaptive” smoking cessation and several trials on new medications for smoking cessation. The new medications leverage more novel neurobiological mechanisms - NMDA receptor antagonism, nicotinic receptor antagonism, which impact addiction-based learning and cue response. Additionally, Dr. Davis serves as co-investigator on trials on lung cancer screening, e-cigarettes, minor nicotine alkaloids, imaging trials, lung function trials and others. Dr. Davis leads the Duke Smoke-Free Policy Initiative, is co-author on a national  tobacco dependence treatment guideline, and provides training in tobacco dependence treatment for the Duke School of Medicine, Duke Internal Medicine, Family Practice and Psychiatry residency programs.

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