Telehealth and Fertility Treatment
How It Can Support Patients Along Their Journey
The trend toward use of technology and telecommunications in health care has accelerated recently. Even before the pandemic hit, there was a significant increase in the number of physicians who were interested in using digital tools such as remote monitoring and tele-visits, according to a study carried out by the American Medical Association. Insurance payers and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have supported the transition to telehealth.
While the technology isn’t new, widespread adoption of telehealth has only occurred recently. Telehealth covers a much broader range of services than telemedicine, which refers specifically to remote clinical services. In addition to clinical services, telehealth includes patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration, according to healthit.gov. It can have particular relevance to patients in fertility treatment, providing a degree of convenience and emotional support that was harder to obtain in the past.
Patients undergoing IVF treatment need monitoring and coaching by fertility nurses on the use of fertility medications, especially the injectables. Video visits via apps allow nurses and patients to interact in privacy at a convenient time and place, without the patient having to make an office visit. The prevalence of smart phones and wireless communications make it easy to have a video visit instead of just a phone call. Seeing the patient in addition to hearing her gives the nurse more information on how the patient is doing and whether she understands the coaching. Video visits can complement the use of phone calls and text messages, enhancing the patient’s experience.
Telehealth increases the convenience of receiving emotional support, as well. A patient can reach out to the practice or the fertility benefits manager (if she has one) and schedule a video visit or phone call at a convenient time when she knows she will have privacy. A family building benefits manager like WINFertility provides access to a nurse manager who offers both education on the process of fertility treatment and also an understanding ear for the patient’s concerns. Access to counseling can also be a part of the benefits package. Many practitioners have found that video visits are a natural fit for counseling.
Ease of Use with an App
Having mobile access on-the-go can be important for your employees that are busy or use their phone for most activities. WINFertility’s Companion app allows patients to handle their benefits and communicate with their nurse manager on the go, from their smartphones. It is available for patients to download from the Apple App Store and from Google Play.