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Information flow as reproductive governance. Patient journey analysis of information barriers and facilitators to abortion care in the republic of Ireland

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Deirdre Duffy
  • Joanna Mishtal
  • Lorraine Grimes
  • Mark Murphy
  • Karli Reeves
  • Dyuti Chakravarty
  • Wendy Chavkin
  • Mary Favier
  • Patricia Horgan
  • Bianca Stifani
  • Antonella F. Lavelanet
Article number101132
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/09/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>SSM - Population Health
Number of pages8
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date9/06/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Background: Information flow – information communication and transmission pathways and practices within healthcare systems – impacts patient journeys. Historically, regulating information flow was a key technology of reproductive governance in the Republic of Ireland. Pre-2018, law and the State sustained informational barriers to and through abortion care in Ireland. An expanded abortion service was implemented in January 2019. Method: Patient Journey Analysis (PJA) interrogates informational facilitators and barriers to/through post-2019 abortion care in Ireland. We focus on information flow at the interfaces between the ‘public’ sphere and ‘point of entry’, ‘point of entry’ and primary care, and primary and secondary care. Materials: The paper uses data from a mixed-method study. A tool for assessing online abortion service information (ASIAT), desktop research, and qualitative data from 108 in-depth interviews with providers, policy-makers, advocacy groups, and service users informed the analysis. Results: Abortion patient journeys vary. Information flow issues, e.g. communication of how to access services, referral systems, and information handover, act as barriers and facilitators. Barriers increase where movement from primary to secondary is needed. Applications: The article identifies good practice in information flow strategy, as well as areas for development. It illustrates the significance of information flow in accomplishing reproductive governance.