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Use of action planning to increase provision of smoking cessation care by general practitioners: role of plan specificity and enactment

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Justin Presseau



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Background: Strategies are needed to help general practitioners (GPs) promote smoking cessation as recommended by guidelines. This study examines whether the quality of action planning among GPs improves their provision of smoking cessation care.Methods: The effectiveness of a 1-h training programme was examined in a cluster randomised controlled trial in which 49 GPs participated. GPs who followed the training (intervention group; n = 25) formulated action plans related to i) enquiring about smoking, ii) advising to quit smoking, and iii) arranging follow-up for smokers motivated to quit. GPs also formulated a coping plan for encountering smokers not motivated to quit. The quality of these plans (plan specificity) was rated and, 6 weeks after the training, GPs reported on the performance of these plans (plan enactment). Multilevel regression analyses were used to examine the effects of plan specificity and plan enactment on patient-reported smoking cessation activities of the GPs in the intervention group (n = 1,632 patients) compared with the control group (n = 1,769 patients).Results: Compared to the control group, GPs who formulated a highly specific action plan during the training asked their patients about smoking more often after the training compared to prior to the training (OR 2.11, 95% CI 1.51-2.95). GPs were most likely to have asked patients about smoking after the training compared to prior to the training when they had enacted a highly specific formulated action plan (OR 3.08, 95% CI 2.04-4.64). The effects of GP plan specificity and plan enactment on asking patient about smoking were most prominent among GPs who, at baseline, intended to provide smoking cessation care.Conclusions: A highly specific action plan formulated by a GP on when, how, and by whom patients will be asked about smoking had a positive effect on GPs' asking patients about smoking, especially when these professionals also reported to have enacted this plan. This effect was most prominent among GPs who intended to provide smoking cessation care prior to the intervention. Training in devising personalised coping plans is recommended to further increase GPs' provision of advice to quit smoking and arranging follow-up support to quit smoking.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Presseau J; Verbiest MEA; Chavannes NH; Scharloo M; Kaptein AA; Assendelft WJJ; Crone MR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Implementation Science

Year: 2014

Volume: 9

Pages: 180

Online publication date: 30/12/2014

Acceptance date: 22/11/2014

Date deposited: 01/04/2015

ISSN (electronic): 1748-5908

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.


DOI: 10.1186/s13012-014-0180-2


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