In recent years, digital technologies have transformed the landscape of healthcare, including the provision of quality abortion care. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many clinics and hospitals around the world to close or reduce services, digital health became an essential part of abortion care. Even as clinics resumed pre-pandemic operations, digital abortion care has remained critical for supporting self-managed medical abortion and reaching women in countries with restrictive laws, those living in remote areas, or those seeking discreet and convenient care. However, digital pathways are just one part of a larger ecosystem of abortion care.
To ensure a seamless continuum of person-centered care, the integration of digital abortion care with analog pathways is essential. Analog pathways refer to the traditional client journeys that do not involve digital components.
The Need for Integrated Care Pathways
When digital pathways are disconnected from analog pathways, women and other people seeking abortion care may encounter unnecessary delays or struggle to access the care they need. For instance, a woman consulting a digital provider for information on self-managing a medical abortion may face difficulties obtaining the necessary medication or post-abortion care without access to local health services. To ensure that women can access quality care at every stage of their abortion journey, it is crucial to establish linkages between digital providers and physical access points.
The Success of the WFD-IPPF Partnership
The referral partnership between safe2choose.org (a Women First Digital platform) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has successfully linked digital and in-person pathways to abortion care. The referral process is straightforward. Women seeking abortion care can access safe2choose's digital platform to receive counselling and information on medical and surgical abortion options. If the woman prefers in-person care or needs further medical attention, the safe2choose team of trained counsellors will refer her to the nearest provider. This referral process ensures that women can choose a hybrid model, receiving continuous care and support from trained healthcare providers throughout their abortion journey.
Since its inception in 2021, the safe2choose partnership with IPPF has registered 300 providers from IPPF Member Associations in seven countries in Africa and Asia. In the first two years, safe2choose referred over 3,600 clients to IPPF facilities, where they received quality abortion care. This collaboration has significantly enhanced the abortion care ecosystem, ensuring comprehensive and uninterrupted care for women. Clients connected to local providers through the digital safe2choose services consistently report positive experiences. They appreciate the easy accessibility and proximity of the local providers, as well as the clear and comprehensive information provided. These testimonials highlight the effectiveness and quality of the referrals, building trust and confidence in local IPPF providers.
Moving Towards a Seamless Continuum of Care
The IPPF and safe2choose referral partnership continues to expand, encompassing providers from more countries and extending the availability of a hybrid model of abortion care to more women worldwide. IPPF Member Association clinics and providers can sign up to the safe2choose referral database through an online registration form. By forging collaborative links between digital and in-person providers, we can move towards a comprehensive abortion care system that fully addresses the needs of women. The success of the safe2choose-IPPF partnership highlights the importance of collaboration between digital and in-clinic providers to create a world where all women have access to quality abortion care.
Discover additional information about the safe2choose referral process here.