Of course, you want to go to a fertility clinic with stellar success rates. Besides reviewing the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART) database, there are also a few often overlooked factors you may want to add to your evaluation criteria.
Alife’s recent patient survey helped us uncover why these additional considerations can profoundly impact the overall patient experience. Below, we share the top five insights we received and offer up some key questions to consider asking when choosing a fertility clinic.
The following factors will impact your clinic experience:
It’s important to ask questions up front so that you know what to expect from your patient experience.
Having one point of contact (the same doctor and nurse) throughout your fertility journey – from initial evaluation to treatment – can make the experience much less stressful. Without continuity of care, patients report that they “often felt like just a number.”
What to Ask: Check with a clinic to see how doctor and nurse care is assigned. Will you have the same care team throughout your fertility journey? Who will be your go-to person for questions?
Timely communication is critical during an IVF journey. For example, you may need to contact a nurse ASAP to check on a medication dosage or get the results of a blood test. In addition, some clinics are moving towards online patient portals to share information and expedite the communication process securely.
“The nurses were the best resource we had,” said one survey respondent. “Our nurse explained each medication and what it did. I felt that I had a lot of support in actually doing these injections.”
What to Ask: Understand a clinic’s communication process. Is there an online portal? What is the process to contact a nurse or doctor? What is the average response time?
Almost half of the patients we surveyed said that they did not have a good understanding of how much fertility treatments would cost them. However, many clinics do a great job of providing transparent pricing models, including estimated medications and monitoring costs (two line items that are typically left out).
What to Ask: Connect with a clinic’s business/financial office when you do your due diligence. Ask for price lists. What is included and, more importantly, excluded from the total estimate? Also, if applicable, will they coordinate with your insurance company?
The size of your clinic may impact how much time you have at each appointment and the level of personalized care you receive, but it also may mean the clinic has more resources for patients. “It was a feeling and lack of personalized care that led me to switch clinics,” said one survey respondent.
What to Ask: What is the average patient appointment length? How can you reach a doctor if you have follow-up questions? Will you see the same doctor at all appointments?
Sometimes, you just get a feeling about a doctor, nurse, or even a receptionist – go with your gut! Chances are you will be spending a lot of time getting to the clinic, communicating with your care team, and sitting in a waiting room. So don’t ignore any negative vibes.
What to Ask: Were the doctors and nurses personable and open? What was the overall mood of the clinic? Does the staff like working there? Have other patients had a good experience?
When it comes to finding a fertility clinic, it’s essential to remember that you have more control than you think. You should feel good about the clinic and the fertility care team you’re working with and that it’s the right fit for your personal preferences.
And remember – if you try out one doctor or clinic, and you don’t feel like it’s a fit, it’s okay for you to explore other options or seek out a second opinion.
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