On October 7th of last year, The Community Health Center, Inc.’s Weitzman Institute (WI) launched the Rewards to Quit research study which is being conducted by the Connecticut Department of Social Services. This study offers a 50% chance for all qualified enrollees to earn up to $350 while receiving free smoking cessation services, a new alternative to tackle the ongoing battle with cigarette addiction.
Worldwide, tobacco use causes more than 5 million deaths per year, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 65% of smokers want to quit, they are just unsuccessful. The Weitzman Institute took on this study with their powerful quality improvement forces and the results after less than a year are quite promising.
Once established in the Rewards to Quit program, the participants are randomized and notified which of the two groups they have been placed in. One in which participants can receive up to $350 by successfully engaging in the services offered or the control group that is only offered free services. Participants that are not in the control group can only be compensated for completing scheduled counseling services and passing carbon monoxide breathalyzer tests. All participants are guaranteed access to one-on-one and/or group counseling, medicines to help you quit and 24-hour phone service for counseling and information on quitting.
Here we are, almost ten months later and the program committee has reviewed the Service Utilization Report and shared strategies and data. By January 2014, the program was at all of our sites and as of today, 625 patients have been enrolled. The coordinator of this research study, Carlee Clarino has spent the better part of a year recruiting current patients through a variety of efforts (postcard mailings, reminder calls, waiting room outreach, print materials, staff referrals). There has been problem solving, a trial & error approach and of course, inactive enrollees but overall, the participation has been strong.
Of the 625 patients who initially enrolled, approx. 445 of them have continued the efforts in one way or another. In the past 3 months, almost 80 new participants have signed up. Almost 80 patients have been classified as “quits” since the program started which is amazing. As the study continues, new efforts to target our patient population using the data from the past ten months will only strengthen the efforts and of course, increase the number of people making a choice to quit smoking for good.