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Birth Control Online – Telecontraception Safety – NEJM

Women and doctors should feel reassured and comforted that getting access to birth control contraception safely and conveniently is as simple as downloading an app and the care provided equals or exceeds that of an in-person office visit. Our Lemonaid Health birth control option was recently featured in the September 26, 2019 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine in a letter to the editor titled, “A Study of Telecontraception”.

Researchers Tara Jain, A.B., Eleanor B. Schwarz, M.D., and Ateev Mehrotra, M.D., M.P.H. found that Lemonaid Health and 8 other telemedicine companies provided high-quality care and evaluation with “adherence to CDC guidelines [that] may be higher than across in-person care visits.”

This is good news and certainly what we expected at Lemonaid Health.

Researchers created seven standardized patients, some who have medical conditions that would require a change in treatment from a traditional combination pill with estrogen to a progestin-only pill (estrogen free) and send out “secret shoppers” to try each of the different telemedicine companies to see how each would respond. The study period was from October 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019. 

Although the authors did not identify how each of the telemedicine companies performed, we are proud to say that we stood out from our other colleagues in the following way:

Lemonaid Health is:

  • the “one vendor [that] provides both an app and website”
  • one of two vendors who provided patients information about long active reversible contraception (LARC) in our “treatment plan provided to standardized patients who had ordered” birth control.
  • one of two vendors who provided the choice of pickup at a local pharmacy as well as offering patients the very convenient and affordable cash pay option of birth control by mail.
  • like the majority of companies tested (7/9) also offered birth control option of the patch and the vaginal ring.

In other words, we offer women maximal flexibility and choice in being evaluated for birth control how they want it and how they wish to receive it. In addition, to ensure all women get the same important health education information like those with an in-person office visit, each patient is reminded of the importance of regular Pap smears to screen for cervical cancer as well as screening for chlamydia for women 24 years or younger as recommended by national guidelines.

Researchers concluded:

“these findings suggest that telecontraception may reduce barriers to contraception because vendors are convenient and accessible. In addition, adherence to guidelines among telecontraception vendors may be higher than it is among clinics that provide in-person visits. The finding that telecontraception is safe may not be surprising given that the questionnaires used by telecontraception companies are fairly thorough.”

Overall good news for women seeking convenient and safe access to contraception via an app.

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