Pilot Test of a Contraceptive Decision Support Tool

Investigator: Christine Dehlendorf, MD, MAS
Sponsor: Mount Zion Health Fund

Location(s): United States


Approximately 50% of pregnancies in the United States each year are unintended, which leads to poor health and social outcomes for both women and their children. One factor contributing to the high rate of unintended pregnancy is the fact that many women use birth control that is less effective, or stop using their method shortly after initiating it. The family planning visit provides an opportunity to assist women to achieve their reproductive goals through providing adequate information and helping women to choose the birth control method that is best for them. Decision support tools are interventions designed to help ensure that individuals have the information and support they need to make difficult health care decisions. Because choice of a birth control method is a complex decision, with many methods being an option for the majority of women, these tools can help women to think through their options and make the best choice. We have developed a patient-centered, tablet-based tool designed to help women with their choice of a birth control method, with the ultimate goal of helping them to be able to continue their chosen method and decrease their risk of unintended pregnancy. In this research, our aims are as follows: (1) to determine the impact of a decision support tool on whether a woman continues her chosen method, as well as her experience with birth control counseling; (2) to compare the birth control counseling provided to patients who have used the decision support tool prior to their visit with those who have not used the tool, through audio recordings of clinic visits; and (3) to assess the experience of providers and clinics that use the intervention through observation in clinics, surveys, interviews, and focus groups.