One-time provider training has lasting impacts on patient-centered LARC counseling

copper IUD
In a time of attacks on reproductive health funding, patients often have to navigate significant barriers to access the birth control method that is right for them. If a patient finds themselves with a provider who has misinformation or bias about a particular method, it puts up another roadblock. Providers often have incorrect assumptions about Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARC), such as that they are inappropriate for people who have never given birth or for teens. If counselors don’t feel comfortable with a particular method, they may not bring it up at all.

Access to birth control depends on a provider’s ability and willingness to provide it, so solutions that lead to offering high-quality, comprehensive counseling are essential.

New research from the Bixby Center and Planned Parenthood offers an efficient solution for clinics that are strapped for resources to reach underserved populations with a full range of contraceptive options.

Clinicians and health educators in Planned Parenthood health centers in 15 states were offered a 4-hour University of California San Francisco-accredited continuing education course that shared updated evidence on IUDs and implants and hands-on training on IUD insertion and contraceptive counseling.

The study shows significant changes in providers’ attitudes, knowledge and practices in the group that received the training. This group saw increases in:

  • belief that IUDs and implants are safe;
  • feeling that they were experienced to counsel on IUDs and implants;
  • knowledge about which patients were eligible for LARC; and
  • routinely discussing LARC in contraceptive counseling.

The impact of the efficient training session endured over time and despite staff turnover at the health centers.

This provider training is a scalable solution that can help providers around the country to increase their knowledge and comfort with LARC and support informed, patient-centered contraceptive counseling.