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Health evaluation and referral assistant: a randomized controlled trial to improve smoking cessation among emergency department patients
Open Access Articles
  • Edwin D. Boudreaux, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Beau Abar, University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Brianna Haskins, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Brigitte Bauman, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
  • Grant Grissom, Polaris Health Directions, Inc,
UMMS Affiliation
Department of Emergency Medicine
Publication Date
Document Type

BACKGROUND: Computer technologies hold promise for implementing tobacco screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT). This study aims to evaluate a computerized tobacco SBIRT system called the Health Evaluation and Referral Assistant (HERA).

METHODS: Smokers (n = 421) presenting to an emergency department were randomly assigned to the HERA or a minimal-treatment Control and were followed for 3 months. Analyses compared smoking cessation treatment provider contact, treatment initiation, treatment completion, and smoking behavior across condition using univariable comparisons, generalized estimating equations (GEE), and post hoc Chi square analyses.

RESULTS: HERA participants were more likely to initiate contact with a treatment provider but did not differ on treatment initiation, quit attempts, or sustained abstinence. Subanalyses revealed HERA participants who accepted a faxed referral were more likely to initiate treatment but were not more likely to stop smoking.

CONCLUSIONS: The HERA promoted initial contact with a smoking cessation provider and the faxed referral further promoted treatment initiation, but it did not lead to improved abstinence.


  • Tobacco,
  • Brief intervention,
  • Emergency medicine,
  • Facilitated referral,
  • Tobacco treatment,
  • Tobacco screening
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This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

DOI of Published Version
Addict Sci Clin Pract. 2015 Nov 5;10:24. doi: 10.1186/s13722-015-0045-2. Link to article on publisher's site
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Link to Article in PubMed
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Creative Commons License
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
Citation Information
Edwin D. Boudreaux, Beau Abar, Brianna Haskins, Brigitte Bauman, et al.. "Health evaluation and referral assistant: a randomized controlled trial to improve smoking cessation among emergency department patients" Vol. 10 (2015) ISSN: 1940-0632 (Linking)
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