Online Program

A text message intervention for self-assessment of complications after medical abortion in Colombia: A pilot RCT

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 3:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Caitlin Gerdts, MHS, PhD, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, Oakland, CA
Heidi Moseson, MPH, Department of Epidemiology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Teresa DePineres, MD, Fundacion Orientame
Background: For most women, a follow-up visit after medical abortion is medically unnecessary. This pilot RCT aims to establish the safety and feasibility of text-message (SMS) follow-up versus standard of care (in-person follow-up visit 15 days post procedure) after medical abortion at a clinic in Bogota, Colombia.  

Methods: Women in both intervention and control groups received wanted medical abortions according to clinic protocol.  Over the two weeks following, women in the intervention group received 5 text messages containing clinical information and supportive messaging. Eleven days following the procedure, women in the intervention arm were asked to respond to a simple set of self-assessment questions via text message.  Women whose self-assessment indicated a need for follow-up were requested to return to the clinic as soon as possible.

Results: A total of 173 women between the ages of 18-49 were enrolled in the study (intervention: n=77; control: n=96).   The proportion of women returning to the clinic to be seen for side-effects or mild complications before the scheduled follow-up visit was the same across study groups (4.7%).  In both study groups,  92% of women were satisfied with their abortion and follow-up care, the large majority of women in both study groups would recommend the process to a friend (intervention: 86%, control 89%), and 84% of the intervention group believed that SMS follow-up would help someone like them through the medical abortion process.

Conclusions: SMS follow-up after medical abortion appears to be a safe and feasible method of follow-up for medical abortion care.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the value of remote follow-up for medication abortion. Explain the design of a pilot-RCT to test self-assessment for complications via text message Discuss the results of the pilot RCT

Keyword(s): Abortion, Epidemiology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a reproductive epidemiologist at The UCSF Bixby Center. My research focuses on improving the measurement of unsafe and illegal abortion in developing countries and on the design and evaluation of mHealth interventions to mitigate the effects of unsafe abortion in settings where abortion is illegal.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 4349.0: Abortion in the Americas