Back to Top Skip to main content

Mobile app aids ‘truly informed’ contraception conversations between patients, providers

A new app provides information about contraception with the goal of helping patients make informed decisions with their providers. The app includes a module to address the unique needs of servicewomen around deployment. (Photo by Sgt. Barry St. Clair) A new app provides information about contraception with the goal of helping patients make informed decisions with their providers. The app includes a module to address the unique needs of servicewomen around deployment. (DoD photo)

Recommended Content:

Men's Health | Women's Health | Technology

A new mobile application designed to help patients make informed decisions about their contraceptive options is now available. The Decide + Be Ready app provides information helpful for men and women, as well as civilian and servicewomen, and an Apple version of the app can now be downloaded free through the App Store, with an Android version available soon at Google Play.

“There are a lot of applications that help women record their cycles, when they’re fertile and not fertile, and this app is different,” said Air Force Col. Catherine Witkop, program director for general preventive medicine residency at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. “This app provides a lot of information about contraception and helps patients figure out which, if any, contraception they’re interested in using. They can bring that information to their providers to have a truly informed conversation.”

Witkop said the app, which is co-owned by the Department of Defense and the University of California at San Francisco, was developed for women, but also includes information for men, said Witkop. The idea of the app came to Witkop when she learned that a team at UCSF had developed a contraception decision aid and found it to be effective. With funding from USU’s Defense Health Horizons Program, Witkop was able to work with the team from the UCSF’s Person-Centered Reproductive Health Program to transform the aid into a mobile app with a module designed for women in uniform.

“It was important to have a module specifically for servicewomen that addresses their unique needs around deployment and duties they have to partake in,” said Witkop. “We also have information on an issue that a lot of military women are interested in, which is controlling their menstrual cycle when they’re deployed. You can use contraceptives to help eliminate periods, which can be helpful during deployments.”

When using the app, patients have the option to learn about the effectiveness of different contraceptive options, side effects, and how they’re used. The app provides information for women who want to know more about planning for pregnancy or considerations for birth control after having a baby, said Witkop. Patients answer a series of questions about their preferences for contraception options and they’re given a summary of the best options for their lifestyle based on the information they provided. Witkop said this information can then be used as a decision aid when talking with providers about contraception.

Navy Cmdr. Shannon Lamb, chief of the Office of Women’s Health for the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, said she found the app to be useful and user-friendly. The app’s format, ability to compare various options, and information provided specifically for active duty women are unique features, she added.

“As a women’s health provider, I think it is an outstanding tool that can enable shared decision making between the provider and patient,” said Lamb. The app is similar to a paper tool that the Navy’s women’s health clinical community had developed, but the electronic format has some added benefits, including its convenience, ability to rapidly update, and durability, she said. The Navy plans to promote the app in their walk-in contraception clinics as this will help facilitate conversations and streamline information in a busy clinical setting.

The app’s profile option for patients allows them to save their answers to the questions regarding preferences. It also provides ‘pop-up’ information on topics a user may not have considered, such as intrauterine devices and emergency contraception, an option to prevent pregnancy should their primary method of birth control fail, said Lamb.

“The ability to compare contraceptive methods ‘side by side’ is incredibly useful for patients in helping to determine which method may work best for them, and the visuals and graphics on ‘how to take’ the contraception provides an easy go-by for patients to understand,” she said.

Lamb said the app can be a valuable tool in raising awareness among patients about the effectiveness of contraception for other conditions, such as acne and menstrual suppression.

“This may prompt conversations with their health care providers that otherwise may not have occurred as patients may not have been aware of their additional benefits,” said Lamb. “It is invaluable for active duty women, particularly if they have a civilian provider, as it takes into consideration deployment environments that may be less amenable to certain forms of contraception, of which civilian providers may not be aware.”

Witkop said the app follows the same rigorous structure as other tools designed for medical decision making. She noted that the app is not connected to anyone’s medical record or personal identifying information, and it is not being used to collect data.

“The app stores information that you put into it, but it’s only stored there on the phone, so no one else is accessing that information,” she said “Your answers are only accessible to anyone you choose to share the app with.”

TRICARE covers contraception for all servicewomen and beneficiaries who receive care at a military treatment facility, but coverage can vary outside of MTFs, Witkop said.

“This is a tool that will give women access to detailed information about the contraception methods, as well an opportunity to answer questions for themselves about what’s important for their contraception so they can make informed choices,” said Witkop.

You also may be interested in...

METC improves surgical tech training with new laparoscopy standard

Article
12/1/2020
Surgical team in operating room

A laparoscopy is a low-risk, non-invasive surgical procedure used to examine organs inside the abdomen and repair or remove tissue.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness | Research and Innovation | Technology

DHA improves financial efficiency with consolidated funding system

Article
11/20/2020
Soldier wearing mask, marking items off in supply room

The conversions enable GFEBS financial structure and funding control by the DHA.

Recommended Content:

Technology

Transition support for servicewomen planning to leave the military

Article
11/10/2020
Three women in military uniforms standing together

As of today, the WHTT has supported more than 1,300 servicewomen to date.

Recommended Content:

Women's Health

Walter Reed, VA focus on joint efforts in 3D medical application

Article
11/9/2020
Three physicians wearing masks; one sitting at a desk, two standing

The JIF award focuses on the Department of Defense/VA 3D Printing Consortium for Medical Applications.

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | Technology

DHA IPM 18-017: Military Health System (MHS) Information Technology (IT) Investment Management Framework

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Interim Procedures Memorandum (DHA-IPM), based on the authority of References (a) through (c), and in accordance with the guidance of References (d) through (v), establishes Defense Health Agency's (DHA) procedures to: .Establish the overarching guidance to implement policies and procedures for managing DHA Deputy Assistant Director, Information Operations (DAD IO)/J-6Defense Health Program (DHP) IT resources. The DHA Investment Management Framework is used as an enabler for MHS leadership to make informed transparent financial decisions associated with the DHA DAD IO/J-6 systems, services, and capabilities and will continue to be used in the foreseeable future.

  • Identification #: 18-017
  • Date: 11/7/2020
  • Type: DHA Interim Procedures Memorandum
  • Topics: Technology

Military Health podcasts provide resources for patients and providers

Article
11/6/2020
Hands holding a smartphone with the Living Beyond Pain podcast playing on the device.

Podcasts have become an increasingly popular way of getting information.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Pain Management | Connected Health

BAMC, Argentine Army medical providers share COVID-19 best practices

Article
11/4/2020
Video teleconference image

U.S. Army South facilitated the virtual subject matter expert (SME) exchange between BAMC and CMMH.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Global Health Engagement | Technology | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Public Health | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

‘Virtual Ward’ pilot program to reduce hospital stay time

Article
10/30/2020
Man's arm with blood pressure cuff and fingertip pulse oximeter

"The idea is that instead of staying in hospital longer..., patients are released early and can recover in the comfort and privacy of their homes."

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Technology | Coronavirus | Public Health

Theater Enterprise-Wide Logistics Systems (TEWLS)

Fact Sheet
10/29/2020

TEWLS consolidates numerous military logistics functions into a single application and database.

Recommended Content:

Medical Logistics | Technology | Solution Delivery Division

Joint Medical Asset Repository (JMAR)

Fact Sheet
10/29/2020

JMAR provides 24/7 access to medical asset information for users, on any computer

Recommended Content:

Medical Logistics | Technology | Solution Delivery Division

Weed ACH hosted breast cancer awareness event

Article
10/28/2020
Woman in pink hat and shirt, wearing a racing number, speaking to an audience

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Combat Support | Women's Health | Health Literacy Month 2020

DHA IPM 18-015: Cybersecurity Program Management

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Interim Procedures Memorandum (DHA-IPM), based on the authority of References (a) through (c), and in accordance with the requirements of References (d) through (y): • Establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) procedures to implement and maintain a DHA Cybersecurity Program for the Military Health System (MHS) to protect and defend DHA information and Information Technology (IT). • Is effective immediately; it will be converted into DHA-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI), “Cybersecurity Program Management.” This DHA-IPM will expire effective 12 months from the date of issue.

  • Identification #: 18-015
  • Date: 10/28/2020
  • Type: DHA Interim Procedures Memorandum
  • Topics: Technology

Essentris®

Fact Sheet
10/26/2020

The military’s inpatient electronic health record is used in acute hospital environments, providing point-of-care data capture at the patient’s bedside for physiological devices, fetal/uterine devices, ventilators and other patient care machines.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization (FEHRM) Program Office | Solution Delivery Division

AHLTA Web Print

Fact Sheet
10/26/2020

AHLTA Web Print (AWP) is an application embedded in the AHLTA client workstation that provides the ability to print a patient’s entire AHLTA medical record or a subset, eliminating the need to print each AHLTA encounter or result separately.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization (FEHRM) Program Office | Solution Delivery Division

Composite Health Care System

Fact Sheet
10/26/2020

The Composite Health Care System (CHCS) allows clinicians to electronically perform patient appointment processes and scheduling, order laboratory tests, authorize radiology procedures and prescribe medications.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Solution Delivery Division
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 11

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.