J Obstet Gynaecol. 2022 Dec 26:2158315. doi: 10.1080/01443615.2022.2158315. Online ahead of print.
The aim of this study was to explore provider practices and attitudes towards routine follow-up counselling after prescription of contraceptives. An anonymous 16-item survey was pilot-tested and sent to providers of the Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Pediatrics, and OBGYN departments of Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals (TJUH), an urban academic medical centre in Philadelphia, PA, USA. Frequency and descriptive statistics were used to analyse quantitative data while a framework analysis approach was applied to open-ended questions. Fifty percent of providers said they typically follow up with patients regarding a newly prescribed contraceptive. Only 15.3% said they do for an existing prescription. Eighty-three percent reported that it is important though only 30% believed follow-up guidelines were clear. Ultimately, there is a gap between providers’ interest in delivering follow-up care and established direction on how to do so.Impact StatementWhat is already known on the subject? Prescription contraceptive adherence is suboptimal. However, it is known that proactive follow-up has positive effects on prescription contraceptive adherence.What do the results of the study add? Most respondents believe that patients take their prescription contraception as prescribed. In light of this finding, providers are less likely to follow up with an existing prescription contraceptive. Interestingly, most respondents do believe that follow-up is important for patients using prescribed contraception but endorse that guidelines about follow-up are neither established nor clear.What are the implications of these findings for clinical practice and/or further research? Patient adherence to prescription contraceptives can be improved through optimised routine patient follow-up after initial prescription. This must be done in ways that minimise burdens to both patients and providers. Providers could benefit from clear guidelines regarding best practices. Future research is needed to understand how providers can best support patients on their contraceptive journey.