In support of telehealth for women

June 21, 2022

According to a release by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), studies show that telehealth services are just as effective as other healthcare services provided for adult women.

·        Based on 16 studies, outcomes of telehealth interventions compared with in-person or usual care were generally similar for adolescent and adult women presenting for contraceptive care (screening, counseling, provision, follow-up care) or receiving services for screening, evaluation, or treatment of interpersonal violence (IPV).

·         Two studies demonstrated that telehealth was either better or worse than usual care for contraceptive care or IPV services; the remaining 14 studies showed no differences in effectiveness.

·         Compared with usual care alone, telehealth interventions to supplement in-person care resulted in similar rates as comparators for contraceptive use (oral contraception, condoms, or long-acting reversible contraception) at 6 months, sexually transmitted infection (STI), and pregnancy (all low strength of evidence [SOE]); impact on abortion rates was unclear (insufficient SOE).

·         Compared with usual care, telehealth interventions for IPV services resulted in similar rates of repeat IPV, depression, fear of partner, coercive control, self-efficacy, post-traumatic stress disorder, and safety behaviors (low SOE), and unclear evidence on harms (insufficient SOE).

·         No studies evaluated telehealth services for family planning or STI counseling.

·         Three studies indicated the COVID-19 pandemic increased telehealth utilization.

·         Studies did not adequately evaluate factors related to access, health equity, or potential harms of telehealth.

AHRQ release