Purpose: Primary care clinicians rely, perhaps erroneously, on general population-based data about risk factors to help form their strategies for allocating time in the brief primary care encounter. We conducted a case study using rates of tobacco usage among people presenting for primary care to explore comparability to general population-based rates. Methods: Clinicians in RIOS Net, a practice-based research network, gathered data on tobacco use for all patients presenting during a 2-week period. We compared those data to population-based data by gender and ethnicity. Results: Ninety-one primary care clinicians reported data on 2442 patients. Primary care smoking rates differed in important ways from general population-based rates. Hispanic women smoked at more than twice the national population-based rate (25% vs 12%). Youth smoked at higher rates as well, particularly young Native American men. Conclusions: Patients seen in primary care differ in important ways in rates and patterns of tobacco usage when compared with rates reported in population-based surveys. These differences could have important implications for preventive care within the context of multiple competing demands in the primary care encounter.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Family Practice