Thanks to the ever-evolving intersection between women’s health and mobile app technology, you can now have birth control pills delivered to your home faster than the next book on your Amazon wishlist!
One of the most important health achievements in the modern era has been the ability for women to decide when or if they want to become parents. Contraception has allowed for women who want to become parents to space their pregnancies for optimal maternal and child health outcomes. It’s also allowed women to help support themselves and their families through educational and career advancements.
But often women who want to prevent pregnancy, encounter issues that make it difficult or impossible to get the care they need. These issues include:
- Difficulty taking time off school or work to get to a doctor’s visit
- Getting enough medication to last until you can get back to a doctor or pharmacist
- Paying for transportation to/from a doctor’s appointment
- Paying co-pays
- Finding a doctor that prescribes the type of birth control you want
These barriers to accessing health care can exist for anyone but they have a much larger impact on women in rural locations, those with limited financial resources, and Black women who simultaneous experience racism within the healthcare system. So, now that the technology industry and women’s health have converged to help women overcome the many challenges we face in accessing health care, it’s essential that we support Black women by getting the word out.
For some time now, pharmacists in many states have been providing emergency contraception (EC) to women without a prescription. Now, many women’s health experts believe that other forms of birth control are safe enough to be sold without a prescription. In fact, several states, California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Oregon, trained pharmacists can prescribe birth control so you can skip the doctor’s visit and get the medication at the same place you purchase condoms and feminine hygiene products.
Although no smartphone app will ever completely replace the valuable experience of meeting face-to-face with a clinician, these apps do offer an alternative to those who want to avoid many of the pitfalls of the traditional healthcare experience. And although women must visit a clinician to get access to the most effective forms of birth control, research suggests that for Black women,
the ability start/stop birth control that comes with less effective methods like birth control pills, the patch, and the ring, are important to Black women. Here’s the scoop on a few options to have your birth control delivered to your doorstep:
They are committed to disrupting the traditional healthcare model that too often leaves women of color with poor outcomes. Perhaps the most popular of the mobile health platforms, Nurx also provides the widest range of birth control, with over 50 options that include the patch and the ring.
Nurx also prescribes pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), to women at risk for contracting HIV, making it unique among the online options. It’s available in 17 states and expanding to offer services in other states.
PrjktRuby aims to break the cycles of generational poverty by empowering women to decide if/when they want to become parents.
PrjktRuby is available in 48 states, giving it the widest reach of any of the platforms. Also, they demonstrate a commitment to their mission of halting generational poverty by donating 25 cents of every $20 pack of birth pills purchased, toward the provision of contraception in developing countries.
If you live in California, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, or Washington, you can order birth control online through Planned Parenthood Direct. They offer delivery of 5 different birth control pills through the app. You can also get information on more effective birth control like IUDs and implants. Consistent with their provision of comprehensive care in person, they also provide treatment for UTIs. Unique to this app is that you always have to option to turn your online visit to an in-person one if necessary.
Lemonaid Health’s mission is to provide ultra-low cost healthcare to everyone in America. Birth control is just one of many medications the deliver. They offer a wide array of birth control pills and although you can skip the doctor’s visit, you will need to go to the pharmacy to pick it up the patch or the ring.
In general, the mobile health platforms require an online medical assessment, which most women are capable of completing quite accurately. Licensed clinicians then review your responses and meet with you, usually via telephone or video. No physical exam needed so the mobile app options may be most appropriate for women who have no pre-existing health conditions. And there is no substitute for the experience of meeting face-to-face with a licensed health care provider so it may be a good idea to visit the doctor’s office if you’re just getting started on birth control and use the online option for refills. Without insurance, prices start as low as $9 per cycle, depending on the birth control method and the platform you use. In most cases, that’s less money that it takes to take the train to the doctor’s office!
So what do you think! Have you tried either of these platforms? Do you think ordering your birth control online s something you’d be willing to try? Let me know in the comments below!