Telemedicine for Contraceptive Counseling During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Referral Patterns and Attendance at Follow-Up Visits

Bianca M. Stifani, Abigail Smith, Karina Avila, Erika E. Levi, Nerys C. Benfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe referral patterns and attendance at follow-up visits for patients who received contraceptive counseling via telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic. Study Design: This is a prospective study of patients seen remotely during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City. We tracked referral rates, referral reasons, in-person visit show rates, and additional visits. We also administered a patient survey at 6 months. Using Stata SE 16, we conducted a multivariable modified Poisson regression with robust error variances to examine the predictors of attending an in-person visit within 30 days. Results: We included 169 patients who had visits between April 1 and June 30, 2020. Of these, 109 (64.5%) were referred for in-person visits, and 83 (76.1%) of those referred attended within 30 days. The most common reasons for referral were long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) removal and insertion. The relative risk (RR) of attending a visit within 30 days of referral was 24% higher for those referred for LARC removal compared with those referred for other reasons (RR 1.24, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.08-1.69), and it was 29% lower for those aged 18-25 compared with those in the reference age (26-35) group (RR 0.71, 95% CI 0.51-0.98). At 6 months, 69.4% of patients were still using the method they decided on at the telemedicine visit, and 44.4% would choose telemedicine for their next contraception visit. Conclusions: Approximately one third of patients seeking contraceptive counseling via telemedicine did not seek additional in-person visits over a 6-month period. Among the patients referred for in-person visits, referral reason and patient age may impact attendance rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1517-1524
Number of pages8
JournalTelemedicine and e-Health
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022


  • contraception
  • COVID-19
  • telemedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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