A new study analyzing interactions on e-cigarettes reveals that physician advice and responses to patients regarding these devices varies greatly.
Whether you want to know about the safety of the devices — which create an inhalable aerosol from heated liquid nicotine and flavoring — or how to use them to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes, physicians range greatly in their responses to patients.
That’s one finding from a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine who analyzed more than 500 online interactions between patients and doctors discussing e-cigarettes. The study will be published online Aug. 26 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
“Researchers have previously surveyed doctors about their knowledge and attitudes concerning e-cigarettes. In this study, we were curious about actual provider behavior — the advice doctors gave in real patient interactions,” said the study’s senior author, Judith Prochaska, PhD, MPH, associate professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center. “Within a novel online medical forum, we were able to observe the exact advice doctors were giving patients and see how that advice varied by topic and clinician.”
The new observations have already helped inform the development of an educational portal, by Prochaska and colleagues, which aims to teach doctors what’s known about the health effects of e-cigarettes and how to communicate the benefits and risks of the devices to patients. Available online through the Stanford Center for Continuing Medical Education, the interactive program provides clinicians with continuing medical education credits.