App of the Week – Planned Parenthood Direct
Women’s reproductive health, especially abortion, is a hot button political issue. Women have an absolute right to decide what to do with their bodies and that is why Planned Parenthood Direct is the App of the Week.
Planned Parenthood announced the expansion of its Planned Parenthood Direct app to function in 27 states and will be available in all 50 states in 2020. Using the app women can order birth control, get a prescription for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) antibiotics, and schedule appointments at a Planned Parenthood clinic.
Planned Parenthood Direct is the combination of two app pilot programs originally launched in 2014 and 2015. Planned Parenthood also offers a chat/text program called Roo that is focused reproductive health. Planned Parenthood believes Roo and other digital tools are making reproductive healthcare and information accessible to as many people as possible.
According to Planned Parenthood the app is one of the ways that it is expanding care at a time when funding and access for women’s health is shrinking across the country. In August, Planned Parenthood exited the federal government’s Title X funding program. The program provides financial support for reproductive health services. But the Trump administration installed new rules blocking Title X funding recipients from referring patients to abortion services. Rather than surrender to the anti-abortion rule Planned Parenthood kissed the $60 million in funding good-bye.
The Planned Parenthood Direct app is part of a larger tele-health trend. New apps allow doctors to reach rural, low-income, or other people who may not have access to healthcare. Birth control and UTI prescriptions are making the case for tele-medicine. Users of the app answer the same questions in the apps as they would in a doctor’s office. Clinicians assess what medication is right for them.
Birth control does not always requires a doctor’s exam. Users answer the standard questions for birth control prescriptions. Planned Parenthood believes expanding access is an important step to preventing unwanted pregnancy. Planned Parenthood’s app does not accept insurance. However, other birth control delivery apps, like Nurx and Pill Club do. Out-of-pocket birth control can cost as low as $20 for a three month supply.