Pre-Abortion Informed Consent Through Telemedicine vs. in Person: Differences in Patient  Demographics and Visit Satisfaction

Pre-Abortion Informed Consent Through Telemedicine vs. in Person: Differences in Patient  Demographics and Visit Satisfaction
Original Article
Shelly Kaller, Sara Daniel, Sarah Raifman, M. Antonia Biggs, Daniel Grossman
Women’s Health Issues, 5 April 2021
Abstract
Purpose
Utah law requires patients to have a face-to-face “informed consent” visit at least 72 hours prior to abortion. Planned Parenthood Association of Utah (PPAU) offers this visit via telemedicine as an alternative to an in-person visit, which can require burdensome travel. This novel study identifies factors associated with using telemedicine for informed consent, patients’ reasons for using it, and experiences with it, compared to in-person informed consent.
Methods
In 2017 and 2018, patients 18 years and older seeking abortion at PPAU completed a self-administered online survey about their experiences with the informed consent visit. We used linear and logistic regression models to compare participants’ demographic characteristics by informed consent visit type, and descriptive statistics to describe reasons for using each visit type and experiences with the visit. Multivariable logistic regression models examined associations between visit type and satisfaction.
Results
Responses from 166 telemedicine patients and 217 in-person informed consent patients indicate that telemedicine participants would have had to travel significantly further than in-person participants traveled to attend the visit at the clinic (mean of 65 miles versus 21 miles, p < .001). In multivariable analyses, telemedicine participants had higher odds of being “very satisfied” with the visit (aOR, 2,89; 95% CI: 1.93–4.32) and “very comfortable” asking questions during the visit (aOR, 3.76; 95% CI: 2.58–5.49), compared to participants who attended in-person visits.
Conclusions
Telemedicine offers a convenient, acceptable option for mandated pre-abortion informed consent visits and reduces the burden of additional travel and associated barriers for some patients, particularly those who live further away from clinics.

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