WHAT WE DO:
through provider referrals
about risks and prevention options
by removing all barriers to care
ongoing health decisions
We have completed an initial project in East Tennessee, in the epicenter of the opioid crisis, to drive prevention of unintended opioid pregnancies in the region. In tests of more than 500 women, more than 50% indicated a preference for LARC.
telehealth solution in action:
- The at-risk population is child-bearing age women who take opioid drugs
- Most of these women are low-income, low-education, and already in addiction treatment
- Half of the 320,000 women in Medicaid in Tennessee received an opioid prescription in 2016
- Only 3% of them use a reliable birth control method
- Their general knowledge of birth control is very low
- Telehealth is a viable solution given the demographics and learning needs of these women
- Education that is broad-based and non-directive, delivered in an empathetic manner, creates a supportive environment for these women to better understand the risks and their options for addressing them
WHY EDUCATION WORKS
Center for Disease Control standards for prescribing opioids include advising women of child-bearing age about the consequences of getting pregnant while using opioids. However, few providers are successfully implementing the recommendations as evidenced by the fact that only 15% of Medicaid women in Tennessee on opiates are using birth control of any type, with only a small portion using a highly-effective method.
We’ve seen through our Stage 1 Pilot that women in many communities of East Tennessee are often not afforded one-to-one patient engagement and educational opportunities in a language, learning modality, and social context that ensures full comprehension and informed consent. Yet, research shows that consistent, effective patient communication and navigational support to care are key to removing the physical, psychological, social, and financial barriers affecting this population.
Further complicating opioid treatment is the sheer variety of patient interaction rules and standards across agencies, clinics, and NPO’s, which make consistently implementing even the best evidence-based treatment and prevention solutions a major challenge. Clinicians are also busier than ever and getting them to employ new best practices for patient interaction is time-consuming, difficult to measure, and financially significantly punitive to the practice.
The optimistic news is that research and practice consistently prove that patient education and navigation have the biggest impact on this population by closing the knowledge gap about the risks and outcomes and providing the needed access to care they deserve. We are working at this intersection to provide timely evidence-based care when it has the greatest impact: before at-risk women get pregnant.
Our rigorously designed model helps providers educate women on opioids about contraceptive options and includes free access to the contraception of their choice. We accomplish this via face-to-face patient navigation in the clinic over live video by trained virtual patient navigators operating from a central video call center.
Our model can scale to diverse and dispersed providers and, ultimately, provide local, state, and federal governments with significant savings and innovative funding structures. We also provide digitally recorded sessions for patient review while maintaining privacy and confidentiality. As part of the same process, we gather demographic data, make appointments, and verify insurance enrollment. This centralized process offers significant promise for enhancing service delivery to the under-served without burdening local staff.