UW Health is set to implement a system to refer patients who want to quit smoking to the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line (WTQL), using their electronic health record (EHR), referred to as eReferral, in all its outpatient clinics by the middle of 2017.

UW Health’s Yahara Clinic is piloting the system in its electronic health records (EHR). UW-CTRI Outreach Director Rob Adsit and Outreach Specialist Amy Skora are providing insight, training and technical assistance.

By mid-year, all UW Health outpatient clinics will use the eReferral system, created by Epic in partnership with UW-CTRI. UW Health will incorporate it into standard workflow using their EHR. Here’s how it works: a member of the medical staff screens the patient for tobacco use and discerns if the person is interested in quitting tobacco use. Then, when the physician meets with the patient, an electronic form pre-populates patient information from their EHR and, with a couple clicks, the clinician places a referral order to the WTQL. Importantly, the WTQL electronically returns service enrollment details to the referring clinician and to the referred patient’s EHR, creating a closed-loop referral.

Also underway is the development, testing and implementation of the WTQL eReferral system with the two UW Health hospitals in Madison—University Hospital on campus and UW Health at The American Center on the east side. The goal is to allow the hospitals to meet three Joint Commission tobacco-cessation recommendations for hospitals to be accredited. While the tobacco performance measures are not required, they are electives that hospitals can select from a menu of options to fulfill the requirements for Joint Commission accreditation.

UW-CTRI is currently testing the eReferral system in the Quit Line Referral Methods Study, which includes 23 clinics, 11 from Ascension (formerly Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare) and 12 from Gundersen Health System. In each system, half the clinics will test the closed-loop, HIPAA-compliant eReferral to the WTQL via EHR, while the other half will use fax referral (Fax to Quit) to connect their patients to the WTQL.

“We are elated that UW Health is taking this step to build an infrastructure to efficiently and effectively help their patients quit tobacco use,” Adsit said. “Tobacco use is still the nation’s leading preventable cause of death, and we are looking forward to continuing to help our colleagues at UW Health address it.”