A Handy App to Prescribe to Patients Using This Particular Contraceptive
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 its 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. Most recently, we favorably reviewed the Defense Health Agency (DHA) that has just released an app designed to help patients make an informed decision. 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). What about apps for particular forms of contraception? A search of the app store finds many apps on contraceptives, some general, some specific to particular types.
One recent stand-out is the ANNOVERA Birth Control Tracker for ANNOVERA, a recently released vaginal ring contraceptive. Produced by TherapeuticsMD, the app provides patients all the information they need to properly use the vaginal ring including proper insertion/removal/cleaning. The app also provides users information on tracking the same with calendar reminders. Although LARCs remain the preferred contraceptive, vaginal ring contraceptives such as Annovera will be preferred by/for some patients.
The ANNOVERA Birth Control Tracker contains detailed information about the product, calendar/tracking functions for insertion/removal, detailed instructions for proper insertion/removal/cleaning, and an authoritative FAQ section. The apps use of humor may appeal to some or may seem somewhat inappropriate. The app contains references to the manufacturer, prescribing information/risks, etc.
What providers would benefit from this App?
Students, residents, mid-levels, family medicine, OB/GYN, pharmacists, and any provider who prescribes the Annovera contraceptive ring should prescribe it to their patients.
- Easy-to-use app with detailed prescribing information, tracking function, detailed instructions for use
- Detailed Q/A section and multiple reminders/calendar tracking functions
- Available for Android
- Information on how to properly set the insertion date should be more clear and consistent with the recommended use of the contraceptive.
- Could benefit from additional “real-world” video demonstrating use; not just the cartoon-based video/images
- No other “reminder” functions such as email or text messages — just calendar-based reminders
The ANNOVERA app is a part of a growing trend by pharmaceutical companies to include an app along with new drug releases. In this case, the app is a useful instructional/educational/tracker app to ensure patients who are prescribed Annovera can properly insert/remove the device, understand/track when to do so, and includes a handy Q/A section for authoritative information about the vaginal ring contraceptive. This is definitely an app that providers should prescribe along with their Annovera prescriptions and pharmacists should recommend as well when dispensing the contraceptive. Obviously, vaginal ring contraceptives are just one of many, and LARCs (not vaginal rings) remain the contraceptives of choice by a variety of national/international organizations.
o 4.5 stars
o 4.5 stars
Interface is intuitive that easily guides patients in proper insertion/removal/cleaning of the ring and tracking of insertion/removal via calendar/reminders.
o 4.5 stars
Easy to use app. Multiple cartoon-like images/videos to illustrate proper use of the Annovera ring.
o 5 stars
App is free!
o 4.5 stars
A great app to prescribe to patients along with ANNOVERA if that form of birth control is part of your practice/on the formulary to assist them in the proper use and tracking of this vaginal ring contraceptive. The app is easy to use and its multiple reminder options could help prevent unintended pregnancy.
Device Used For Review
o iPhone 11 Pro running iOS 14.0.1