'Tele-abortions' just as safe as in-person consultations

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Tele-abortions are just as safe as in-person care, according to a study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, which compared the rates of adverse effects of medical abortions during telehealth procedures to those conducted at an in-person to evaluate safety rates.

The study included data on adverse events such as hospital admission, surgery, blood transfusion and death for all telehealth-performed medical abortions and those from an in-person clinic in Iowa, examining data from July 2008 to 2015.

Overall, 8,765 telemedicine and 10,405 in-person medical abortions were performed. With a total of 49 incidents, adverse events were reported in 0.18 percent of telemedicine patients and in 0.32 percent of in-person patients

“Adverse events are rare with medical abortion, and telemedicine provision is noninferior to in-person provision with regard to clinically significant adverse events,” concluded first author Daniel Grossman, MD, and colleagues.

The report also included a survey of 119 emergency departments in Iowa, asking if the clinic had treated a woman with an adverse event in the previous year. A total of 42 clinics responded,; none reported treating a woman with an adverse event after a medical abortion.