Telemedicine for contraceptive counseling: Patient experiences during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City

Bianca M. Stifani, Abigail Smith, Karina Avila, Elise W. Boos, June Ng, Erika E. Levi, Nerys C. Benfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: During theCOVID-19 pandemic, many clinicians increased provision of telemedicine services. This study describes patient experiences with telemedicine for contraceptive counseling during the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City. Study design: This is a mixed-methods study which includes a web-based or phone survey and in-depth phone interviews with patients who had telemedicine visits for contraception. Results: A total of 169 patients had eligible telemedicine visits between April 1 and June 30, 2020. Of these, 86 (51%) responded to the survey, and 23 (14%) participated in the interviews. We found that 86% of survey respondents were very satisfied with the telemedicine visit, and 63% said it completely met their needs. A majority (73%) strongly agreed that these visits should be maintained after the COVID-19 pandemic, and half (51%) would be very likely to choose them over in-person visits. In-depth interviews highlighted the convenience of telemedicine, especially for those with work or parenting responsibilities. Although some patients had in-person visits after telehealth, many appreciated the counseling they received remotely, and found the subsequent in-person visits more efficient. Patients identified visits that do not require physical exams as ideal visits for telehealth, and some hoped that all or most of their future visits would be telehealth visits. Many patients (43%) expressed a preference for phone over video visits. Conclusions: Patients reported an overall positive experience with telemedicine visits for contraceptive counseling during the COVID-19 pandemic. They appreciated the convenience of telemedicine visits and valued the virtual counseling experience. Implications: Health care providers who initiated or expanded telemedicine services for contraceptive counseling during the COVID-19 pandemic should consider continuing to offer them after the pandemic. At the policy level, these findings favor expanding access to telemedicine and providing reimbursement for virtual visits, including telephone visits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-261
Number of pages8
JournalContraception
Volume104
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Contraception
  • Patient counseling
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Telemedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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