Facing new restrictions on both federal and state levels, the organization is expanding its mHealth footprint with apps, a chatbot and messaging and appointment scheduling services.
Planned Parenthood is expanding its telehealth platform to combat federal funding restrictions, rolling out a new mHealth app that offers UTI and birth control services.
The organization announced this week that its Planned Parenthood Direct app is now available in 27 states and the District of Columbia, and should be available in all 50 states by the end of 2020. In addition, Planned Parenthood highlighted its expanding connected health platform, which includes apps, a chatbot, a text messaging service and online appointment scheduling.
“Planned Parenthood is continually looking for new ways to reach people with the care they need, and we’re proud to be a leader in using technology and innovation to expand people’s access to health care and information,” Alexis McGill Johnson, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s acting president and CEO, said in a press release. “As politicians across the country try to restrict or block access to critical reproductive and sexual health care, the Planned Parenthood Direct app is just one part of the work we do to ensure that more people can get the care they need, no matter where they are.”
The effort marks of continuation of the organization’s digital health strategy, which aims to improve access to healthcare services at a time when several states and the federal government are looking to curb the group’s outreach. Just recently the Trump Administration cut off Title X funding, saying federal money could not go to any organization that advocates for or offers abortion services.
“The administration’s move will greatly impact access to birth control, STI testing, cancer screenings and other critical health services, particularly for people of color, people with low incomes and people in rural and remote communities,” Planned Parenthood said in the press release. “In the wake of increasing restrictions on sexual and reproductive health care, the Planned Parenthood Direct app is helping to break down barriers and get people the timely care and information they need.”
Aside from the app, the organization also offers Roo, a sexual and reproductive health chatbot aimed at younger populations; the Chat/Text program, also targeting younger populations, which offers sexual health advice and information via text or instant messaging; the free birth control and period tracker app Spot On; and an online appointment scheduling tool, which has reportedly facilitated more than 4 million appointments since its launch in 2014.
Planned Parenthood has also recently launched an online abortion law tracking tool, enabling users to find out how abortion care is legislated in each state.
This follows recent efforts by the organization to publicize studies showing that telemedicine abortions are as safe as in-person procedures and lawsuits directed against states that ban such services.
Date: September 11, 2019
Source: mhealth Intelligence