Original research article| Volume 94, ISSUE 2, P122-126, August 2016

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Comparing office and telephone follow-up after medical abortion



      Compare proportion lost to follow-up, successful abortion, and staff effort in women who choose office or telephone-based follow-up evaluation for medical abortion at a teaching institution.

      Study design

      We performed a chart review of all medical abortions provided in the first three years of service provision. Women receiving mifepristone and misoprostol could choose office follow-up with an ultrasound evaluation one to two weeks after mifepristone or telephone follow-up with a scheduled telephone interview at one week post abortion and a second telephone call at four weeks to review the results of a home urine pregnancy test.


      Of the 176 medical abortion patients, 105 (59.7%) chose office follow-up and 71 (40.3%) chose telephone follow-up. Office evaluation patients had higher rates of completing all required follow-up compared to telephone follow-up patients (94.3% vs 84.5%, respectively, p=.04), but proportion lost to follow-up was similar in both groups (4.8% vs 5.6%, respectively, p=1.0). Medical abortion efficacy was 94.0% and 92.5% in women who chose office and telephone follow-up, respectively. We detected two (1.2%) ongoing pregnancies, both in the office group. Staff rescheduled 15.0% of appointments in the office group. For the telephone follow-up cohort, staff made more than one phone call to 43.9% and 69.4% of women at one week and four weeks, respectively.


      Proportion lost to follow-up is low in women who have the option of office or telephone follow-up after medical abortion. Women who choose telephone-based evaluation compared to office follow-up may require more staff effort for rescheduling of contact, but overall outcomes are similar.


      Although women who choose telephone evaluation may require more rescheduling of contact as compared to office follow-up, having alternative follow-up options may decrease the proportion of women who are lost to follow-up.


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