Technology Improves Access to Birth Control

August 11, 2017   ·   0 Comments

Aug. 11, 2017 — Technology is making it easier for women to get birth control without ever stepping foot inside a doctor’s office.

Several new companies along with Planned Parenthood are offering women access to birth control through apps on their smartphones or over the internet.

“Telehealth and telemedicine is really revolutionizing many aspects of medical care … and I really see this as another extension of that,” says Daniel Grossman, MD, a professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the University of California, San Francisco.

Grossman says access to birth control can help prevent unintended pregnancies, as well as benefit women economically by helping them better plan when to have children.

Those readings can take place through an app or website, Grossman says.

Grossman says there are downsides as well. You can’t get an IUD or implant online, for instance. And you won’t get recommended tests such as a pelvic exam, tests for sexually transmitted diseases, or a Pap smear if you skip the doctor’s office.

He also recommends that women educate themselves on birth control risks.

Most of the services require women to fill out a questionnaire before getting birth control, and one requires an e-visit with a doctor.

Mara Gandal-Powers, senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center, says state and federal laws affect how these organizations can provide and prescribe birth control. Insurance coverage also varies by state.

Under the Affordable Care Act, a woman’s insurance must cover birth control.

“They’re really fantastic for expanding people’s ability to get the prescriptions they need to get their birth control conveniently delivered to them,” Gandal-Powers says of the new services.

Before trying out these services, you should consider whether or not your insurance will cover it, be honest about your medical history, and know your risks. Costs vary depending on your insurance and the type of birth control.

Sources “Birth control benefits.”

Mara Gandal-Powers, senior counsel, National Women’s Law Center.

Daniel Grossman, MD, professor, department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, University of California, San Francisco.

Peter Ax, managing partner, Phoenix Capital.

Jessica Knox, MD, medical director, Nurx.

Nick Chang, founder, The Pill Club.

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