Telemedicine clients wishing to confirm a successful medication abortion outside of a clinic setting are commonly instructed to use high-sensitivity urine pregnancy tests, which can take up to four weeks to yield accurate results. Multilevel urine pregnancy tests (MLPTs), which provide accurate results in one week, are a promising alternative, but their use has not been evaluated within telemedicine services.
From November 2017 to May 2018, 165 eligible and consenting pregnant people who contacted safe2choose—an organization providing telemedicine abortion services internationally—for medication abortion were enrolled in a pilot study and mailed a package containing medication abortion drugs, two MLPTs and instructions. Data on 118 participants who completed a web-based evaluation survey two weeks after the package was sent were analyzed to examine participant experiences and satisfaction with the service.
Responding participants were from 11 countries, including Mexico, the Philippines and Singapore. Ninety-three percent used both MLPTs, and 91% of those who used both tests used them at the correct time intervals. Among the 95% of participants whose MLPT results indicated that their pregnancy hormone levels decreased from before to after medication abortion, 86% correctly interpreted the results to mean that they were no longer pregnant. Satisfaction was high, with all indicating that the supplied information was helpful; more than nine out of 10 noted that they would want to use the MLPTs again.
Incorporating MLPTs into telemedicine abortion services is feasible and associated with high client satisfaction. Enabling people to manage their own abortion follow-up care could greatly improve their overall abortion experience.
At the time the research was conducted, Erica Chong was director, Wendy R. Sheldon was director and Jennifer Blum was Vice President for Programs and Strategic Initiatives—all at Gynuity Health Projects, New York. Danielle Lopez-Green was client relations manager, Cecilia Gonzalez H. was IT manager, Bárbara Hernández Castillo was distribution manager, and Marián Gulías Ogando was technical and training manager— all at safe2choose.org. Nirdesh Tuladhar was executive director, Women First Digital.