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Reasons for Not Pursuing Virtual Prenatal Care in 2020 Through 2021 and Policy Implications

HumanInsight Reasons for Not Pursuing Virtual Prenatal Care in 2020 Through 2021 and Policy Implications

Telemed J E Health. 2023 Feb 14. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2022.0492. Online ahead of print.


Aim: To investigate patterns of virtual prenatal visits and examine reasons for not pursuing virtual visits for prenatal care. Methods: A pooled cross-sectional study used Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System from October 2020 through June 2021, a nationally representative surveillance system targeted at women who recently gave live birth. Individuals (n = 11,829) who reported their prenatal care experiences were included. A modified poison regression estimated prevalence ratios for virtual prenatal visits and reasons for not using virtual services. Results: One-third of participants used virtual prenatal care. Hispanics were more likely to use virtual prenatal care than whites. Compared with college graduates, those with high school graduation (Prevalence Ratios [PR] 0.87, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.76-0.99; p = 0.033) or some college education (PR 0.86, 95% CI 0.77-0.96; p = 0.009) were less likely to use virtual visits. A preference for in-person was the most common reason for not pursuing virtual visits (77.1%), followed by no available virtual appointments (29.5%), technology barriers (6.1%), and no private space (1.7%). Individuals with less than or with high school graduation had 4.16 times (95% CI 2.32-7.46; p ≤ 0.001) and 2.72 times (95% CI 1.67-4.43; p ≤ 0.001) greater technology barriers, and 10.03 times (95% CI 3.42-29.46; p ≤ 0.001) and 4.29 times (95% CI 1.56-11.80; p = 0.005) greater likelihood of lacking private space, respectively, while they had a lesser in-person preference. Conclusions: In a disrupted health care landscape, barriers to accessing virtual prenatal care may have further exacerbated access to care and effective management of pregnancy among those underserved. The findings provide practical implications for safe and effective prenatal care.

PMID:36787485 | DOI:10.1089/tmj.2022.0492

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