(Boston) – Researchers at Boston Medical Center (BMC) have received a $3.2M grant to educate hospital providers statewide on how best to counsel women about contraception use, particularly long-acting reversible contraception methods like intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants. The program, funded by the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services, will work with the 44 maternity hospitals, with more intensive interventions at the hospitals that serve a patient population with the greatest need, where this training will have the largest impact.
Researchers are focusing on the maternity hospitals since discussing contraception options with pregnant women has been shown to be a safe, effective, and convenient strategy for averting unwanted pregnancy. Given the personal nature of birth control, it is important for clinical and technical staff to be educated on how to best to approach and counsel these women in a patient-centered fashion.
All hospitals with maternity services in Massachusetts will be offered a grand rounds, led by BMC researchers and trained physicians, on the topic of shared decision-making around contraception. These hospitals will also receive access to educational materials online, and provider and staff leaders will be invited to an annual conference on the subject. At hospitals with the more intensive interventions, BMC clinician researchers will lead on-site training on contraceptive counseling and provision, logistics, and creating best practices.
“From recognizing our biases when speaking with patients, to understanding how to stock, bill, and code for IUDs, all staff who are involved in this process need to understand how to best offer contraception options to women,” say Katharine O’Connell White, OBGYN at BMC and principal investigator on the project. “Every institution is different, and we will tailor the training to fit their specific needs.”
Researchers want to make the more intensive interventions as wide-reaching as possible. They plan to offer the on-site training and online tools not only to obstetrics and gynecology providers, but also to primary care and emergency medicine providers, as well as pharmacists and support staff.
As researchers begin putting together the educational materials, they will seek community input from a patient advisory board to ensure cultural sensitivity and prevent biases. They will also study how the interventions changed practices at hospitals and health outcomes for the women they serve.
“Our goal is to empower women to have access to all contraception options so they can get the method that works best for them when and where they need it,” says White, who is also an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Boston University School of Medicine.