Smart phones and tablets may hold the key to get more clinicians screen patients for tobacco use and advise smokers on how to quit, research shows.
In the study, using mobile phones loaded with tobacco screening guidelines prompted nurses to ask patients about their smoking habits.
After the counselling, most of smokers expressed a willingness to kick the habit, according to a study from Columbia University School of Nursing.
"These findings suggest that mobile applications can play a significant role in curbing tobacco use," said lead study author Kenrick Cato, an associate research scientist at Columbia Nursing.
The study evaluated tobacco screening rates for more than 14,000 visits at clinics in New York City.
While overall screening and counselling rates were increased by use of the mobile tools, the gains varied by race and gender, the study found.
The technology can serve to remove any unintended bias clinicians might have about which patients are most likely to benefit from intervention, Cato noted in the study published in the journal Oncology Nursing Forum.