How Telehealth Is Changing Fertility Care
Pushing through COVID-19
Reading this title might have you thinking, "How can fertility treatment be performed virtually?”. It’s a new, fascinating concept to wrap your head around yet one of the most rapidly growing specialty areas in telemedicine.
In fact, a study conducted by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine found that nearly 90% of fertility clinics expect to continue offering telehealth as an option for their patients long after COVID-19. An astounding statistic tied directly to the increasing usage of telemedicine for access to leading fertility care from anywhere.
Without further ado, let’s get into the many ways telehealth is advancing the delivery of care for patients seeking fertility treatment.
Fertility care pre-pandemic
Before the pandemic, fertility care was predominantly an in-person specialty. Only 43% of fertility health centers had the capability to provide virtual care options. Of those, a mere 34.2% actively offered it to patients.
This lack of virtual care offerings created challenges for many patients, especially those outside of major cities. Many rural areas have no fertility expert at all, requiring patients to take time off work and travel hours each way for a visit. This combined with the shortage of healthcare professionals everywhere makes it extremely difficult for patients in these populations to receive the expertise they need.
Telehealth and fertility care
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, everything came to a screeching halt; except for the healthcare system, of course. Although hospitals and clinics never closed their doors, they did need to explore alternative methods to deliver care for patients who didn’t require in-person visits. It was an essential safety measure to protect themselves, providers and all of their patients.
Once the benefits of telemedicine began shining through, healthcare providers everywhere began taking full advantage of its ease of use, expanded access to care and effectiveness for treating a wide array of cases. Fertility care is no exception. Here’s why!
Convenience Fertility patients in need of constant monitoring and coaching, like those receiving in vitro fertilization (IVF), no longer have to block off the time for frequent in-person appointments to check-in or have their questions answered. They can consult with their specialist from anywhere, at any time through telemedicine over a video visit, phone call or even by text.
Emotional Support Telemedicine also increases near real-time access to emotional support and counseling for fertility patients. A patient can easily schedule a video chat or phone call with their specialist with less lead time than an in-person visit. Having the ability to seek advice or address concerns with your doctor through the click of a button enhances the patient experience, reduces stress levels and allows for added comfort in their care.
Access to Care As we touched on earlier, telehealth increases access to specialty care for individuals outside of major metropolitans. Patients in rural areas have a hard time finding the specialists they need, then still have to jump through hoops to coordinate the trip. Telehealth removes this barrier entirely. Access to the internet now means these patients can see their provider from anywhere.
Telemedicine cuts traveling to the doctor’s office from multiple times a year to potentially just once. With fertility care, you will need to have in-person visits occasionally to get run labs, perform ultrasounds and complete other hands-on scans /exams. But, virtual appointments are perfect for new patient consultations, reviewing test results, conducting follow-up appointments, counseling and monitoring patients undergoing fertility treatment.
An introduction to OpenLoop
Speaking of expanding access to fertility treatment, we have to introduce OpenLoop!
Think of us as a telehealth company that powers other telehealth companies. We work with a variety of organizations seeking to launch or scale their virtual care services across the US, including many in the fertility space. We partner with clinics and companies nationwide to match patients with our network of highly specialized, highly niche physicians to bring expertise and compassion to virtual fertility care.
Our physicians lend support through a variety of fertility areas including:
Fertility testing and workup
Sperm count and semen analysis
Essentially, we can power your fertility care seamlessly, from anywhere. On top of staffing your fertility visits, we take the back office challenges off your to-do list! Tap into our MSOs & PC Groups, multi-state licensing, certified credentialing, patient scheduling and so much more.
Are you a telehealth company who offers or is looking to offer fertility treatment? We’d love to connect to talk about what we can do for you! Get in touch here.