Telemedicine allows rural underserved populations access to medical resources that may not be available in their communities. Following promising results with a telemedicine project aimed at educating female students in McDowell County, West Virginia on reproductive health (RH) in 2015, we conducted a follow-up study including both male and female high school students during the 2016 school year.
Materials and Methods:
Telemedicine sessions on RH were incorporated into existing afterschool programs at two rural high schools. Students’ knowledge on RH was assessed via pre-test, immediate post-test, and 6-month post-test evaluations. RH was taught by medical students and faculty at a distal university.
77 students participated and 37 students completed a 6-month follow-up survey. Statistically significant increases in knowledge scores regarding both birth control and sexually transmitted disease prevention were noted at 6-month follow-up. A larger proportion of students reported “always” utilizing birth control (35.3% vs. 64.7%) as well as condom usage (46.2% vs. 58.8%) at six months compared to before the intervention, but was not statistically significant. The intervention was rated as “effective” or “very effective” by 91.9% of participants, and 75.6% stated they were “very likely” to participate the future.
Telemedicine is a promising and sustainable tool in teaching RH to rural underserved areas.
Conflict(s) of Interest
References with DOI
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Singh, Raj; Harsh, Mohit; Mullins, Keegan; Dunlap, Brian; and Yoost, Jennie L.
"Promoting Reproductive Health Using Telemedicine: A Prospective Study Among Rural Appalachian High School Teens,"
Marshall Journal of Medicine:
2, Article 7.
Available at: http://mds.marshall.edu/mjm/vol3/iss2/7