Is smoking status routinely recorded when patients register with a new GP?
- aDivision of Primary Care
- bDivision of Epidemiology and Public Health and UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
- *Correspondence to Lisa Szatkowski, Clinical Sciences Building, Nottingham City Hospital, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK; E-mail:
- Received November 25, 2009.
- Revision received May 15, 2010.
- Accepted June 3, 2010.
Background. The process of registering new patients in primary care provides an ideal opportunity to assess their smoking status systematically and record this in electronic medical records; this identification then allows smokers to be targeted with effective cessation interventions.
Objective. To use a dataset of electronic primary care medical records to assess the extent to which primary care patients’ smoking status is recorded in their electronic records at the time of their registering with a new GP.
Methods. Patients who registered with a general practice contributing data to The Health Improvement Network (THIN) database each year between 1990 and 2006 were identified, and their electronic medical records examined to identify the date on which their smoking status was first recorded.
Results. In total, 74.2% of adults registering with a new GP in 1990 failed to have their smoking status recorded in their electronic medical records within 90 days of registration, improving to 26.7% of adults registering in 2006.
Conclusions. That over one-quarter of adults registering with a THIN practice in 2006 did not have their smoking status recorded at registration represents substantial missed opportunities for identifying smokers and also, potentially, for offering them support to quit.
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