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P053“I totally didn't need to be there in person”: Women's receptivity to telehealth visits for sexual and reproductive health in primary care

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      Objectives

      To explore patients’ receptivity toward telehealth sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services from primary care.

      Methods

      This study objective was part of a larger qualitative study exploring patients’ perceptions of metrics for assessing the quality of SRH care in primary care. Participants were recruited via an online research recruitment firm. We conducted five focus groups (age-groups 18–25, 26–35, 36–45) and eight interviews with New York women of reproductive age (18–45) who visited a primary care provider in the last year (n=30). We queried participants on their experiences with and perspectives on telehealth for SRH care, and perceptions for measuring quality in primary care telehealth visits. We employed inductive thematic analysis.

      Results

      Participants preferred having discussions on basic SRH concerns, like contraception, over telehealth, but desired in-person appointments for complex and unfamiliar topics, like pregnancy. Benefits of telehealth included convenience, simplicity of some SRH needs, and the ability to alleviate power dynamics in the patient-provider relationship. Challenges included lack of one-on-one connection, the seriousness of pregnancy-related discussions, and privacy/internet connectivity. Measuring the quality of SRH should not differ between in-person and virtual visits, except for fostering positive, engaging virtual environments to limit the perceived disconnect.

      Conclusions

      Participants are receptive to telehealth SRH in primary care, underscoring the importance of offering and expanding telehealth for these services after the COVID-19 pandemic. However, telehealth alone will not address all inequities in accessing SRH care.
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