Planned Parenthood Expands Entrance into Digital Health

November 21, 2019

Planned Parenthood has continued its entrance into digital health with its new reproductive services finder app.

Planned Parenthood has continued its entrance into digital health with its new reproductive services finder app.

Planned Parenthood Direct, an app that offers birth control and UTI treatment, is now available in more than half the country-27 states and the District of Columbia-and will be live in all 50 states by the end of 2020. With the app, users can request birth control pills be delivered to their door, get a prescription for UTI treatment sent to a nearby pharmacy, learn about different methods of birth control, or make an appointment at a Planned Parenthood health center. 

Earlier this year Planned Parenthood launched Roo, a text chat enabled app to help provide women, aged 12 to 19 years, with information regarding puberty, relationships, and sexual health.

“Planned Parenthood has been dedicating more of its budget to digital services,” says Danielle Bradnan, analyst at Lux Research, a provider of tech-enabled research and advisory services, located in Boston. 

This app represents a means of using limited resources to maximize access to care for patients who face geographic and legislative barriers, according to Bradnan. 

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“These digital services expand the effective footprint of Planned Parenthood by improving the reach of services well beyond what would be possible with brick and mortar clinics alone, and with significantly less overhead,” she says. “Since most healthcare executives are often in a position where they have to do more with less money, they can consider Planned Parenthood a model for how to strategically offer digital services to expand the reach of their healthcare system.” 

Many of the problems that plague current healthcare systems, including shrinking budgets, populations that require more resources, and challenges to accessibility are exemplified by Planned Parenthood, according to Bradnan. The nonprofit is known for providing quality, low-cost, timely preventative care like cancer screenings and contraception, and with its recent loss of Title X funding-representing 20% of its total funding-it is operating on a limited budget.

“Healthcare executives should be following this digital model that Planned Parenthood is using to tackle these issues,” she says.

Tracey Walker is managing editor of Managed Healthcare Executive.