Is Telemedicine Abortion Effective During the Pandemic?

services are provided by family medicine clinicians in a variety of settings: family planning clinics, online health services, and primary care practices, both within and outside the care system multi-specialty health care.

Abortion pill

Currently, most abortion pills – a combination of two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol – distributed by independent reproductive health clinics, study lead author Emily Godfrey, an obstetrician-gynecologist and family medicine physician with the UW Medicine healthcare system in Seattle for know.


A telemedicine abortion may seem as safe as an in-person procedure

With increasing restrictions on access to abortion care, the study provides “a primary care pathways and obstetricians and gynecologists to rapidly initiate a telemedicine abortion for a patient, when permitted by law“, said Godfrey.

Across all practices, investigators found similar operating procedures for telemedicine abortion services, with each of the following: Five basic steps to providing care: Lead author Anna Fiastro, research manager in the Family Planning division of the University of Washington School of Medicine, said: patient participation, care consultation, billing, medication dispensing, and follow-up .

According to the study’s report, the asynchronous method of communication between the patient and the service provider (online via email, text message or electronic medical record portal) usually takes two to three minutes of doctor’s time, compared with a video call lasting 10 to 30 minutes. Regardless of the healthcare facility, the medication was delivered to the patient by U.S. Postal Service to the patient’s home or selected address. Follow-up communication between the patient and the clinician is, in all cases, optional and usually initiated by the patient, by phone call, videoconference, or text and email.

In total, the research team interviewed 21 doctors or clinic staff in various states, including Washington, in November and December 2020. The doctors interviewed were mostly family physicians. or family nurses from 15 locations, the report noted.

The study comes before the US Supreme Court’s June decision to overturn Roe versus Wade and the constitutional protection of abortion. As states ban abortion, health care providers will continue to meet patients’ needs for comprehensive reproductive health services in states where abortion is still legal and available, the authors note.

Results from this study contributed to the Distributed Provider Accessibility Toolkit, a step-by-step guide for providers interested in starting their own telemedicine abortion service. . The team’s next steps include understanding patients’ experiences with telehealth drug abortion services – specifically, patients’ perceptions of these service models and how telehealth drug abortions can improve improve access to care for those who are marginalized by the health care system.

This is one of several studies Godfrey has led into medical abortion, including two last year that assessed patients’ after-care needs and services. In those studies, the researchers found that the clinics that mailed mifepristone and misoprostol to patients during the pandemic experienced High demand for telehealth abortion services and was able to safely screen and care for patients.

Mifepristone and misoprostol have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and can be used safely and effectively to terminate an early pregnancy. In December, the agency lifted longstanding restrictions on mifepristone, allowing doctors to prescribe the drug after a telemedicine visit and send it to patients by mail or through an online-order pharmacy. letters. Abortion pills currently account for more than half of all abortions in the United States.

Source: Eurekalert

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