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Planned Parenthood Uses Telemedicine Web Cam to Dispense Pills and Consult with MD

Posted May 18 2010 4:11pm

This is currently happening in the heartland, in Iowa.  The conference is set up via web cams at each location.  Once completed the remote location doctor can image remotely open a drawer that will dispense the medication and it has to be take in front of the web cam in the case of the RE 486 Mifeprex, abortion pill.  I think that part is a good idea so everything is documented.  

The alternative of a woman in a rural area of not being able to see a doctor is much worse.  Of course this is a big topic for discussion and Planned Parenthood expects other states will follow in their footsteps.  If you have keep up with remote telemedicine you may have read about the efforts of Cisco in this area too, the link below has additional information and videos. 

More women are choosing “medication abortions” versus those done in a procedure.  You don’t just walk in though, labs work and images are examined by the remote physician before the conference takes place.  BD 

A controversy is brewing over how the RU-486 pill is dispensed in Iowa after Planned Parenthood started using technology to allow doctors to hand out the pills using telemedicine.

Iowa is the only state in the country where Planned Parenthood of the Heartland is administering RU-486 pills using a remote camera and special pill dispenser to patients at rural clinics.

image

RU-486, also known as Mifeprex, is a synthetic steroid that is used to prevent or end pregnancy in the first two months after conception, and is commonly referred to as the "abortion pill."

After talking to the patient, the doctor can then tap a button on the computer to activate a special drawer at the patient's location that will open and allow the patient to receive the pills. The patient then takes the first pills while the doctor watches.

The Iowa Board of Medicine is looking into the new technique. Planned Parenthood officials said the videoconferencing has given access to women in rural areas who otherwise might not see a doctor at all.

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