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Acceptability of no-test medical abortion provided via telemedicine during Covid-19: analysis of patient-reported outcomes


Introduction The English government approved both stages of early medical abortion (EMA), using mifepristone and misoprostol under 10 weeks’ gestation, for at-home use on 30 March 2020. MSI Reproductive Choices UK (MSUK), one of the largest providers of abortion services in England, launched a no-test telemedicine EMA pathway on 6 April 2020. The objectives of this study were to report key patient-reported outcome measures and to assess whether our sample was representative of the whole population receiving no-test telemedicine EMA.

Methods A sample of all MSUK’s telemedicine EMA patients between April and August 2020 were invited to opt in to a follow-up call to answer clinical and satisfaction questions. A total of 1243 (13.7% of all telemedicine EMAs) were successfully followed-up, on average within 5 days post-procedure.

Results Patients reported high confidence in telemedicine EMA and high satisfaction with the convenience, privacy and ease of managing their abortion at home. The sample responding were broadly equivalent to the whole population receiving telemedicine. No patient reported that they were unable to consult privately. The majority (1035, 83%) of patients reported preferring the telemedicine pathway, with 824 (66%) indicating that they would choose telemedicine again if COVID-19 were no longer an issue.

Conclusions Telemedicine EMA is a valued, private, convenient and more accessible option that is highly acceptable for patients seeking an abortion, especially those for whom in-clinic visits are logistically or emotionally challenging. Evidence that this pathway would be a first choice again in future for most patients supports the case to make telemedicine EMA permanent.

  • abortion
  • induced
  • patient reported outcome measures
  • abortion
  • therapeutic
  • mifepristone
  • surveys and questionnaires
  • patient satisfaction

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. Data tables are included within the article. Original raw data are archived on secure servers at MSI Reproductive Choices.

This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ’s website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.

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