Digital health technologies can help health care providers maintain access to family planning for clients even during an epidemic. There are many formats and uses for digital health technologies, and they may be particularly valuable during an epidemic when clinic-based services are restricted.
Examples of some of the technologies used in a digital health framework to connect providers with clients include: SMS or text messaging, phone or video “visits”, informative pod casts, mobile apps, and web-based tools such as email or open medical records (medical records that clients can directly review or access themselves). With the exception of IUDs, implants, some diaphragms and permanent methods (male and female sterilization), contraceptive methods do not require a physical exam prior to initiation.
In providing family planning services during an epidemic, providers should:
- Use digital health technologies to connect with clients, counsel them, and prescribe methods that do not require physical examination.
- Leverage digital health technologies to share important information on the safety of contraceptive methods and how to access services and self-administer selected methods.