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Sep 28, 2020

Strengthening Clinical Cessation Protocols With Referral to Quitxt

UT Health San Antonio’s University Health System (UHS) Robert B. Green Campus Family Health Clinic and the General Medicine Clinic are the sites of a new tobacco screening and intervention protocol intended to connect more of the clinics’ underserved and low-income patients to cessation resources. The new protocol was developed collaboratively with family medicine residents and a faculty leader.

Screening for tobacco use is a standard intake procedure at the clinics; however, through collaboration with the San Antonio Metropolitan Health’s REACH initiative, the standard procedure was revamped and reinforced by empowering physicians to discuss tobacco cessation with patients by providing readily available resources. One of those referral resources is the bilingual Quitxt messaging program, developed by the Institute for Health Promotion and Research and the Mays Cancer Center’s Community Outreach and Engagement (COE) team through support from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).

Quitxt is a free quit-smoking service delivered via text messaging or Facebook Messenger Chat in English or Spanish. Quitxt turns a participant’s cell phone into a personal quit-smoking coach by sending text messages with motivation to quit, helping set a quit date, and providing real-time support 24/7. Quitxt also features real-life testimonials from South Texans who have quit.

Additionally, embedded within the primary clinics are behavioral health consultants (psychologists) who are able to treat patients with more intensive interventions if patients are willing to participate.

The new clinical protocol has had an impact, as about 36% of patients screened were enrolled into Quitxt. Continued success of the program is fortified by the resident physician champions who promote the project and provide protocol training to clinic staff and providers.