From Training to Implementation: Improving Contraceptive Practices in South Carolina

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Objective: Capacity building and training to improve contraceptive care is essential for patient-centered care and reproductive autonomy. This study assessed the feasibility of translating the knowledge and skills gained from contraception trainings into improvements in practice. Study Design: Participants completed surveys following contraceptive care trainings provided to family planning clinic and hospital obstetric providers and staff as a part of the Choose Well contraceptive access initiative in South Carolina. Surveys assessed participants’ intent to change their practice post-training and anticipated barriers to implementing change. A mixed-methods approach was utilized including descriptive analysis of Likert scale responses and thematic content analysis to synthesize open-ended, qualitative responses. Results: Data were collected from 160 contraceptive training sessions provided to 4814 clinical and administrative staff between 2017 and 2019. Post-training surveys were completed by 3464 participants (72%), and of these, 2978 answered questions related to the study outcomes. Most respondents (n = 2390; 80.7%) indicated intent to change their practice and 35.5% (n = 1044) anticipated barriers to implementing intended changes. Across all training categories, organizational factors (time constraints, policies and practices, infrastructure/resources) were the most frequently perceived barrier to improving contraceptive services. Structural factors related to cost for patients were also identified as barriers to IUD and implant provision. Conclusion: The trainings were successful in influencing family planning staff and providers’ intent to improve their contraceptive practices, yet some anticipated barriers in translating training into practice. Improvements in organizational and structural policies are critical to realizing the benefits of trainings in advancing quality contraceptive care. Implications: In addition to training, coordinated efforts to address organizational practices and resources, coupled with system-level policy changes are essential to facilitate the delivery and sustainability of patient-centered contraceptive care.