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J Gen Intern Med. 2008 Jun;23(6):794-9. doi: 10.1007/s11606-008-0609-x. Epub 2008 Apr 9.

Computer-assisted provision of emergency contraception a randomized controlled trial.

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  • 1Center for Research on Health Care, Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.



Emergency contraception (EC) can prevent unintended pregnancy. However, many women continue to lack information needed to use EC effectively and clinician time to counsel women about EC is limited.


To evaluate whether computer-assisted provision of EC can increase knowledge and use of EC among women able to access EC without a prescription.


We conducted a randomized controlled trial in which the intervention group received a 15-minute computerized educational session and 1 pack of EC. The control group received education about periconception folate supplementation, but no information about EC. Participants were contacted 7 months after enrollment.


Four hundred forty-six women recruited from 2 urgent care clinics in San Francisco in 2005.


Knowledge of EC, use of EC, and self-reported pregnancy.


At follow-up, women in the intervention group answered an average of 2 more questions about EC correctly than they had at baseline, whereas women in the control group answered only 1 more item correctly (2.0 vs 1.2, p < .001). There was a trend toward more use of EC during the study period in the intervention group (10% vs 4% of women followed, p = .06; 6% vs 3%, p = .09 of women enrolled). Fewer women in the intervention group were pregnant at the time of follow-up (0.8% vs 6.5%, p = .01 of women followed; 0.5% vs 4.0%, p = .01 of women enrolled).


Computer-assisted provision of EC in urgent care waiting areas increased knowledge of EC in a state where EC had been available without a prescription for 3 years.

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