During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth platform usage increased to offer patients prompt and safe remote care solutions. With this reproductive care also went digital. The Planned Parenthood Federation of America is a non-profit organization offering reproductive healthcare in the US and globally. Planned Parenthood conducted more than 425,000 appointments through Telemedicine EMR Software from March to October 2020. Telehealth has played a vital role to help Planned Parenthood reach out to people remotely offering timely high-quality care to stay safe and healthy and even abortion care.
Increase in digital care
Carafem is also a provider of reproductive healthcare offering its clients convenient abortion, birth control, and testing services. Carafem’s clients have a great interest in digital care services. There was a 200 percent increase in telehealth abortions offered by the health center in the previous year. To ensure that the rise in telehealth demand was being met, the organization started to offer telemedicine solutions from 5 states to 15.
There was a 225 percent increase in clients receiving abortion care, including both in-person and virtual abortion services. Patient volumes have increased in states which have permitted abortion, hence reproductive healthcare providers have started to leverage virtual care options to extend care. This is mainly because the telehealth platform has benefits for patients and providers.
When telemedicine is used for medication abortions it decreases the number of visits to the clinic and this is especially beneficial for people living on the outskirts. Accessibility increases for the patients and enables confidentiality.
What is telehealth-enabled medication abortion?
Medication abortion is when two pregnancy termination drugs need to be taken in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. At Carafem the medication abortion process starts with patients deciding whether they want a telemedicine session or to come into a brick-to-mortar location. If the telehealth option is chosen then the patient must schedule a video visit with the reproductive healthcare provider.
Before the telehealth session starts, Carafem collects all patient data including health history to ensure that the client can have a medication abortion without any complications. After the video session, the patient is seamlessly connected to an SMS virtual-based assistant, Cara. Cara helps the client to track the medication.
Medication abortions are 99% safe and telehealth-enabled medication abortions are as effective as in-person medication abortions.