According to a recent study published in JAMA Network Open, telehealth medication abortion services (tele-MAB) are effective in providing abortion care.1
Many women seek out abortion medications, but this process has seen increased barriers as options become restricted by federal and state regulations. Tele-MAB, an online consultation and medication service delivered directly to patients, may be able to provide more convenient and accessible abortion care.
While disparities in telehealth access have been reported in other areas of health care, there is little data on tele-MAB services. To evaluate the differences in patient characteristics based on use of tele-MAB vs in-clinic medication abortion care, investigators conducted a cross-sectional study.
Electronic medical record data of patients who were tele-MAB or tele-MAB–eligible and received in-clinic medication abortion services at Cedar River Clinics from April 23, 2020, to January 31, 2022, were evaluated.
Associations of patient characteristics and the odds of receiving tele-MAB vs in-clinic services were measured through bivariable and multivariable logistic regressions. Data analysis was performed from September to December 2022 using Stata IC statistical software version 16.1 (StataCorp).
There were 1241 patients included in the final analysis, aged a mean 30 years. Of these, 69% received in-clinic medication abortion services and 31% received tele-MAB services. Tele-MAB was more likely among patients who lived further from a clinic and had an abortion history in the adjusted analysis.
Patients who self-reported multiracial or other race were also more likely to receive tele-MAB services than White patients, while Black patients were more likely to receive in-clinic medication abortion care. In-clinic services were also more common in younger and non-English speaking patients, as well as those with at least 1 health condition.
These results indicated efficacy from tele-MAB abortion care, providing medication abortion services to individuals who may be unable to travel to clinics because of travel logistics and costs. Investigators recommended further research on how racism in health care settings impacts abortion care through tele-MAB.