How Healthcare Technology is Changing Abortion Care for the Better

You have probably noticed that technology is an essential part of all healthcare today. At Choix, we believe that abortion care is part of healthcare, so it makes sense that healthcare technology can also help improve the quality of abortion care.

Telehealth services like Choix increase access to abortion care, providing pregnant people with high-quality, safe, convenient, and supportive reproductive health care. To have a choice, you need to have options. Choix uses the latest technological developments to bring safe, affordable, and convenient abortion care online.

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Healthcare Technology and How It Relates to Patient Care

The use of technology in healthcare has grown significantly over the past few years and accelerated during recent pandemic times. Nowhere is that more evident than in the world of sexual & reproductive healthcare. For those seeking to end their pregnancy, the effects of technology have been greatest in telehealth. New software, better care coordination, and improved provider-patient communication between providers and patients improve the quality of the healthcare you receive. They also deliver more control to you, as a healthcare consumer.

What is Telehealth?

Telehealth describes any healthcare service you access or receive digitally through video, computer, telephone, or text. Telehealth is different from telemedicine. Telemedicine is the delivery of direct medical care. Telemedicine happens when technology allows your doctor to care for you remotely. For example, in abortion care telemedicine might look like a video call with a Nurse Practitioner who provides you with the prescription for a medication abortion.

Telehealth is a broader term used to describe other parts of health care such as health education or scheduling medical tests or appointments. Instead of visiting your healthcare provider in person, you get the information you need online. Telehealth services allow you to seek treatment for a wide range of common medical concerns, sometimes more quickly, easily, and affordably. At Choix, we deliver telehealth via our online medical questionnaires and through emails, texts, and our patient portal.

How does Telemedicine Work?

Instead of meeting with a healthcare provider in person, telemedicine provides you with the care and information you need through the use of a website, patient portal, emails, video visits, and text messages.

How it works is pretty straightforward. Telemedicine can be delivered in real-time (synchronously) or offline (asynchronously). You might be familiar with those terms if you had a child in school during the COVID-19 pandemic. Choix offers asynchronous telemedicine − you access our website to request a consultation. As part of the intake process, you fill out a questionnaire to give providers some basic information about your specific condition or pregnancy concern. Choix will always let you know when it is safer and healthier for you to seek in-person treatment.

How Do Advancements in Technology Impact Abortion Care?

Today, technological advancements like telehealth provide access to safe abortion care from the comfort of your own home. After meeting initial screening qualifications to ensure you receive the right care for your situation, you can receive necessary medications and supportive care entirely online. Here are some of the ways healthcare technology is changing abortion care for the better:

Technology lowers barriers to abortion care

Telehealth decreases many barriers to safe abortion, ensuring comprehensive reproductive care for all people. Barriers to reproductive and sexual healthcare services cause some of the greatest health burdens for marginalized communities in the U.S. These groups include Black, indigenous, people of color, transgender, non-binary, and people living in poverty or rural areas.

The decision to terminate a pregnancy is complex and private. For many seeking abortion care outside the formal healthcare system is more attractive. Technology allows providers like Choix to remotely deliver all parts of abortion care (options counseling, administration of pills for abortion, and postabortion care). This helps groups shouldering disproportionate health burdens. Abortion with pills via telehealth allows people to:

  1. Maintain their need for privacy and autonomy

  2. Avoid long waiting times or travel times to clinics

  3. Limit further abuse or trauma by the healthcare system for survivors

  4. Reduce the likelihood of denial of services or mistreatment as a result of an inability to pay or lack of health insurance

  5. Cuts costs associated with in-person clinic care

Regardless of who you are or where you live, telehealth and remote abortion care can help make a difficult decision a little less complex. Choix’s healthcare technology allows you to schedule a digital consultation and submit necessary questionnaires, patient information, and consent forms easily and seamlessly.

Thanks to medication home delivery our healthcare providers can even send the necessary medication right to your door. In other words, it’s entirely possible to receive all that you need for a safe, successful, and confidential medication abortion without ever having to visit a clinic or pharmacy.

Technology Increases Access to Safe Abortion Care

Choix believes that access to reproductive healthcare is critical to your health and well-being. For many people, where or how they live limit their access to safe reproductive healthcare and abortions. If there are no nearby clinics or access to transportation, getting an abortion may be an impossibility. The cost of in-person care is also prohibitive for many patients.

Thanks to new healthcare technology developments, telemedicine providers like Choix help increase access by providing abortions with pills. While some pregnant people will require in-person testing to confirm their eligibility, this is not true for the majority of people seeking medication abortions via telehealth. Technology also allows convenient and confidential delivery of medications.

For many, this means they receive the safest and most effective medication prescribed for an out-of-clinic abortion. No more waiting for an appointment or navigating complicated schedules and multiple clinic appointments. Earlier access to care, without delaying treatment until later in pregnancy, and treatment with correct medication protocols improves patient safety, satisfaction, and the quality of care. Virtual follow-up appointments also eliminate the need for additional in-person visits. The ability to provide abortions with pills through telehealth reduces the overall cost of abortion care – for both the patient and our healthcare system.

Most importantly, telehealth provides abortions safely. Looking at a sample of 141 patients, one research team found that 95% completed their abortions without needing any other medical intervention. None experienced any significant complications. The number of women reporting any side effects after taking pills for their abortion was the same as the number of women reporting side effects after in-clinic abortions.

Telehealth also reduces the number of people forced to turn to unsafe methods to end their pregnancies. Self-managed abortions, any abortion happening outside of a formal clinic setting without clinician support, carries a higher risk of complications, and threatens reproductive health and safety. In contrast, when following the evidence-based guidelines with mifepristone and misoprostol, efficacy (the chances that the pregnancy is ended successfully) approaches nearly 95% and the risk of serious complication is less than 0.5%. Having an abortion is much safer than being pregnant, especially for Black women in the U.S.

Technology Allows Healthcare Professionals to Reach More People

During the pandemic, we saw that telehealth could provide essential medical care to more people than in-person care. Telemedicine brings healthcare to rural and underserved areas, and to typically isolated communities hesitant to access reproductive healthcare, such as LGTBQ communities.

Logistically, healthcare professionals can also expand the hours they provide care remotely, giving patients the ability to seek appointments at a time that works best for them. Patient convenience increases the likelihood that people get the safe, quality care they need and want. Asynchronous abortion care allows providers to see more patients in less time and provide care more cost-effectively.

The Future of Technology in Abortion Care

Technology in reproductive health care is here to stay. So is medication abortion. A recent report from the Guttmacher Institute found that more than half of all abortions in the United States today are medication abortions. The COVID-19 pandemic drove the rapid and widespread acceptance of telemedicine, telehealth, and abortion with pills. But current legislative challenges continue to limit people’s access to safe abortion care in the United States.

Fortunately, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permanently protected the mailing of abortion pills in December of 2021. However, various state regulations and licensing requirements still limit universal and unrestricted access to this safe and highly-effective form of essential healthcare. Digital health technology will be critical to continuing to provide people who are pregnant with a choice.

Choix proudly stands at this new frontier of technological change in reproductive healthcare. We are always looking for innovative and creative ways to provide the safe, effective, convenient, and affordable abortion care pregnant people need. If you or someone you care about is looking for a better option, know that there is help. For more information and to get the abortion care you need, get in touch with us here at Choix today.