MSI Australia has published an Australian-first study which will change the way medical abortion care is delivered in Australia.
The findings reveal that women can bypass an unnecessary trip to the doctor following a medical abortion and test themselves from the comfort of their own home to confirm the abortion was complete. This new model of care was introduced during COVID19 lockdowns, and this study shows that this simplified care is safe and effective.
Deputy Medical Director Dr Catriona Melville said this study highlights the effectiveness of a more streamlined approach to post-abortion care, which have been successfully implemented in other countries, such as Scotland.
“Medical abortion is a quality, safe and effective form of abortion care,” she said.
“’Our study includes over two thousand people and shows that we can provide the same quality of care with less appointments and less intervention such as ultrasound scans.
“A post-abortion clinic visit can be replaced with a low-sensitivity urine pregnancy test and virtual health appointment.
“This new method is not only safe but has been welcomed by women and pregnant people we have cared for.
“A low-sensitivity urine pregnancy test was approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in November 2019 for use in Australia.
“This allowed us to change the way we deliver medical abortion care. It came at a crucial time as the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020 and brought about national lockdowns, making travel and face-to-face medical appointments more challenging.
“Previously, people who accessed a medical abortion at our clinics were required to undergo a face-to-face review approximately 14 days after taking the medication.
“This involved a consultation with a doctor who performed a routine ultrasound scan and checked for any adverse signs or symptoms.
“The simplified process replaced the in-clinic review with a telephone call to the patient 14–21 days after the medical abortion. Patients were given a special urine pregnancy test at their initial clinic appointment and during the call we discussed the results and asked some questions to ensure there were no complications and that the process was complete.
The study aimed to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of this process by examining patient outcomes. We also evaluated the impact on the number of face-to-face clinic appointments which can be a barrier to access and care.
“These findings are a significant step forward in improving the accessibility and effectiveness of follow-up procedures for early medical abortions.” Dr Melville said.
“By adopting this new model of care, healthcare providers can minimise unnecessary in-person visits, routine blood tests and ultrasound scans whilst ensuring high standards of care are delivered.”
The study was published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ANZJOG) and can be read online here: https://obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ajo.13731
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For further information contact Anna Jabour on 0428 396 391.
MSI Australia is the only national not-for-profit provider of sexual and reproductive health services including permanent and long-acting reversible contraception and abortion care. For more information on our clinic network visit msiaustralia.org.au