Evidence-Based Contraception Decisions for Those In and Out of the Armed Services

Discussions about contraception options and prescriptions and procedures for contraception are some of the most important conversations during well-woman visits. Unfortunately, too often the visits are rushed and either the patient or the provider is not fully prepared to discuss all of the available methods for the patient in the level of detail required for an informed decision. Many patients may already have an idea of what they want, but is it the best/safest option for that particular patient? For providers, our previous recommended sources included the excellent pocketbook called Managing Contraception (not available as an app), the CDC’s Contraception app, and Dr. Steinberg’s Contraception app.  The World Health Organization also has an app based on their 2015 Medical Eligibility for Contraception 5th Edition document and MEC Wheel, but we felt the above options were more complete for providers.

For patient education, the options are more limited. For many years, I have used the ARHP website, Method Match, for aiding patients in making an informed decision, but they have unfortunately closed their doors. Luckily, the Defense Health Agency (DHA) has just released an app designed to help patients make an informed decision. Their new app, Decide + Be Ready, contains easy to follow information about each form of birth control. The app is a joint project between providers at DHA and the Uniformed Services University (USU) with the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). The team at UCSF previously studied a slightly different version of the app to help patients with informed decision making. Modules in the app include information on the following topics:

  • How well does it prevent pregnancy?
  • How do I use it?
  • How often do I have to remember it?
  • Are there any side effects?
  • What if I decide to get pregnant?
  • Considerations for a servicewoman

Additionally, the Decide + Be Ready app allows patients to create and save questions to ask at the provider well-woman visit. Finally, the app guides patients through a unique process to create their own birth control profile based on their preferences and health conditions.


Evidence-based medicine

The DHA Decide + Be Ready app contains evidence-based information on the most common forms of contraception available. The app uses a unique interface that was previously studied and designed to aid patients in making the best contraception decision. The app incorporates patient preferences and their unique health conditions to aid in the decision-making process.


What providers would benefit from this App?

Students, residents, mid-levels, family medicine, ob/gyn, emergency medicine, and any provider who prescribes contraception should have this app and prescribe it to their patients.



  • Free



  • Easy to follow and answers the most common questions about all forms of contraception
  • Ability for patients to create a unique birth control profile
  • Unique deployment-related content yet still applicable to all women



  • Some screens in the app are seemingly hidden
  • Some patients may not find the information detailed enough
  • Not available for Android at this time (but coming soon)



The new Decide + Be Ready app from the Defense Health Agency (DHA) and the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) brings evidence-based information to patients to help guide them to the best contraception decision. App allows for an educational and interactive discussion between patients and providers. 

Overall Score

  • 4.5 stars

User Interface

  • 4.5 stars

Interface is intuitive that carefully guides the patient through the educational process and allows for the development of their own unique contraception plan.


Multimedia Usage

  • 4.0 stars

Easy-to-use app. Multiple pictures and drawings to illustrate the types and use of contraception. 


  • 5 stars

The app is free.

Real World Applicability

  • 4.5 stars

A great app to prescribe to patients to assist them in deciding on a method of contraception. The app is based on a similar product that was shown to be an effective decision aid. The app will work great for women in and out of the Armed Forces.


Device Used For Review

  • iPhone 8 running iOS 12.1.4


Available for Download for iPhone and iPad. Available soon for Android.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.