Background and methodology Women have used the contraceptive diaphragm for decades. Although use has recently declined, the diaphragm may find a new role in STI/HIV and dual-prevention programmes when microbicides become available. We developed a questionnaire to examine seven provider issues identified as possible barriers to diaphragm use among advanced practice nurses (APNs) specialising in women's health. The perceived degree to which each issue represented a barrier was examined. Non-parametric correlations were calculated between diaphragm fitting history, demographic and practice characteristics, and the response ratings for each issue.
Results Responses were analysed for 204 APNs who averaged 15 years' experience in women's health care; 87% had fitted a diaphragm at least once, but 40% had not prescribed one in the past year. The degree to which each issue was perceived as a barrier varied. Based on respondents' ratings of a 'more than moderate barrier,' diaphragm non-promotion by women's health providers, effectiveness doubts, unfamiliarity and lack of access to educational materials were more often perceived as impeding diaphragm use. Other results indicated that APNs with recent diaphragm fitting history perceived five of the seven issues to be less of a barrier: non-promotion by women's health providers, lack of access to educational materials and to a fitting set, unfamiliarity, and inadequate reimbursement.
Discussion and conclusions Formulation of successful strategies to reintroduce the diaphragm will depend on better identification and understanding of provider-perceived barriers. This paper offers new insights about such barriers and guidance for the development of strategies for diaphragm reintroduction.
- barrier contraception
- practice patterns
- provider barriers
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