To determine the percent of adolescent Medicaid patients with medical record documentation about tobacco use status and cessation assistance; and factors associated with providers documenting and intervening with adolescent smokers.
Secondary analysis of data collected in 1999 from medical records of Wisconsin Medicaid health maintenance organization (HMO) recipients 11 to 21 years old.
Random reviews and data collection were related to visits from January 1997 to January 1999. Data collected included patient demographics, provider type, number of visits, and whether smoking status and cessation interventions were documented.
Medical charts were reviewed and a database was created using a data abstraction tool developed and approved by a committee to address tobacco use in Medicaid managed care participants.
Among adolescents seen by a physician from 1997 to 1999, tobacco use status was documented in 55 percent of patient charts. Most often tobacco use status was documented on history and physical or prenatal forms. Of identified adolescent smokers, 50 percent were advised to quit, 42 percent assisted, and 16 percent followed for smoking cessation. Pregnant patients were more likely to have tobacco use documented than nonpregnant patients (OR=10.8, 95 percent CI=4.9 to 24). The odds of documentation increased 21 percent for every one‐year increase in patient age.
Providers miss opportunities to intervene with adolescents who may be using tobacco. Medical record prompts, similar to the tobacco use question on prenatal forms and the tobacco use vital sign stamp, are essential for reminding providers to consistently document and address tobacco use among adolescents.