New EHR System to Refer Smokers to the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line

UW-CTRI's efforts to use electronic health records (EHR) to refer patients to the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line (QL) has taken another step with the completion of a second-generation system. UW-CTRI has partnered with Epic, the largest EHR vendor in country, and Alere Wellbeing, the largest quitline vendor in the nation, to build it. Epic and Alere finished testing the system on October 30.

This latest iteration is called eReferral 2.0, is web-based, and uses HL7, the EHR industry standard for specifications, protocols, and interoperability. These standards are particularly important to QL eReferral as the patient data is being sent to a provider (the QL) outside the healthcare system and EHR ecosystem in real time. In addition, QL service data is electronically and securely sent back into the referred patient's EHR, showing counseling engagement (e.g., the outcome of a referral to a specialist) and medications sent to the patient by the QL (i.e., the patient's medication list, with a start and end date).

To see results from EHR 1.0, click here.

As part of a recently awarded R35 grant, UW-CTRI will launch a research study in early 2016 with a healthcare system that uses the Epic EHR. The study will enlist 5 primary-care clinics to continue using the current fax-referral method known as Fax to Quit, and compare them to 5 primary-care clinics to use eReferral 2.0.

"We will compare how eReferral differs from fax referral in regard to clinic and staff workflow, staff roles, quantity of QL referrals, and quality of QL referrals," said UW-CTRI Outreach Director Rob Adsit. The quality of referrals, he said, refers to how many of the referred patients engage in QL treatment.