When abortion provider Marie Stopes Australia embarked on new research to try to improve abortion services for women, it thought patients would be most concerned about receiving high quality care.
But Canberra research being conducted with the Australian National University has shown women are most concerned about a compassionate approach to their care.
Marie Stopes thinks abortion care in Australia and across the world could be revolutionised because of the ongoing research.
Associate Professor Bruce Shadbolt, of the Australian National University Research School of Finance Actuarial Studies and Statistics, is developing the models of care as part of research for a project with Marie Stopes.
Marie Stopes director of public affairs Jacquie O'Brien said it had already made changes to the way it delivered abortion care, including training all its staff in trauma awareness.
These changes have come from interviews with patients conducted in early stages of the research, which provided some surprising results.
Ms O'Brien said they expected quality of care, access and cost to be of primary concern to women - which did all feature - but the most consistent feedback had been on the need for empathetic and personalised care.
"A lot of the discussions we have around abortions in Australia is about what other people - whether that's politicians or advocates - think," she said.
"But very rarely do we go to women and say 'How do we give you the best care possible?', knowing that no two women are the same."
Ms O'Brien said they wanted to make sure they had empathetic care and faced a challenge of overcoming "compassion fatigue" among providers.
"Some people had a wonderful experience," she said.
"But others felt like they were just another patient - that came out really strongly.
"Those sort of really personal supports were things we hadn't thought too hard about."
Dr Shadbolt said his early research showed women wanted caring and compassionate aspects to their care.
"They're looking for small things like at the end of the process you get a cup of tea and a biscuit, to feel like they're being listened to," he said.
"So as they go through the process it's about being compassionate and caring about the circumstance they're in."
Based off this information and further surveys, Marie Stopes and researchers want to develop client-centred models of care for what is often a stigmatised area of healthcare.
Dr Shadbolt eventually wants to create what he calls "the equivalent of Google maps for healthcare" as part of the aim to develop better patient-centred care.
"It would be dynamic - the patient would be able to access something on an app," he said.
"They're able to visually see the options they have based on their circumstances - and that's not just their health circumstances - and then they would be given predicted outcomes."
He's using the themes identified in focus groups of patients to inform the creation of algorithms and models that can deal with the many dynamic context-based adaptive response "signatures" women face when looking for abortion care.
“We take the real-time research responses from individual women and apply them to the next person who comes along with similar context signatures, and from there we start to build up a real-time learning model striving to maximise the best experiences and outcomes for clients," Dr Shadbolt said.