4 August 2022

Telemedicine and assisted reproduction: present and future

telemedicine and assisted reproduction
By the Editorial Comitee IVI Blog

Telemedicine and assisted reproduction are definitely linked, since the pandemic changed our daily lives more than two years ago. The global lockdown removed barriers and created new habits, re-adapting some of them in some cases. With a new perspective, it seems unreasonable now not to bring products or services closer to the consumer. Regard assisted reproduction, IVI’s clinics have fully adapted to the new times, to be closer to our patients. We already offered online initial consultations but now the procedures have evolved, specially when it comes to foreign patients.

In this blog, Dr Juan Antonio García Velasco, Scientific Director of IVIRMA, explains how IVI works daily, making life easier for those who want to realize their dream of being parents. We’ll analyze also the present and future of telemedicine and assisted reproduction.

Bringing the clinic closer to our patients

Besides the changes due to the pandemic, it is a fact that our environment gets more and more increasingly “localized” and connected. It would be hard to understand the fact of remaining isolated or separated from our patients.

In this sense, telemedicine is also the present and future of Assisted Reproduction at IVIRMA. About 20% of the initial consultations of our patients are now online. And when we include the international patients who make an initial consultation online, this rises to 80%.

“The world of assisted reproduction is evolving more and more, and it is essential to bring our activity closer to the daily lives of our patients if that is what they prefer, instead of making them come to the clinic. Thanks to the tools and technology available to us today, many of the processes carried out in the clinic can be done remotely. In short, we see telemedicine as the present and the future of assisted reproduction,” explains Dr. Juan Antonio García-Velasco, Scientific Director of IVIRMA.

Telemedicine and assisted reproduction patients

The world literally came to a halt on March 14, 2020, with the mandatory and necessary lockdown. After the period of isolation, these measures were eased. However, many of the borders were totally or partly closed and it was necessary to adapt in order to continue our activity. Many of our patients could not wait, due to their prognosis. This was not a handicap for IVIRMA, which had been preparing for this for many years, and we responded immediately with a virtual video conferencing platform to share images in real time.

IVI’s Patient Portal

At IVIRMA we offer our Patient Portal software. This acts as a mirror of everything that involves the patient at each step along the assisted reproduction path. Using this portal, patients obtain real-time information on all their results, tests and follow-up.

“The fact that patients, using our patient software, can have direct contact and receive information in real time makes their experience much simpler, more efficient and more comfortable. And, of course, this is our ultimate goal, which is the achievement of a healthy baby as soon as possible, but also the possibility to make the process bearable as much as possible. We know that the path of assisted reproduction can sometimes be complex. That’s why, the easier we can make it for our patients, and the more we perfect our processes and technology so that the patient’s experience is impeccable, the better,” adds Dr. García-Velasco.

Echography controls at home

As mentioned, telemedicine is the present at IVIRMA but mostly, it will be the future. We’re working on a cycle ultrasound monitoring device, which is already under clinical trial. This project is about a small device that will allow us to follow how the follicles of the patient evolve. This will be done through a vaginal ultrasound self-done at home.

This will definitely be a new step to bring the clinic closer to patients. We reverse the process, as patients don’t have to come closer to the clinic, which makes easier this complex process.

How will this device work? It sends all the patients’ data, that remain stored in a virtual system. Thanks to an algorithm based on artificial intelligence, we do the corresponding medical follow-up. Medical validation will always remain necessary for the process.

Ultrasound monitoring of the reproduction cycle is already a reality. So will the monitoring of hormone production during that cycle be. This is a process that can be monitored using saliva, without the need to go to the clinic to have blood drawn. Receiving information in real time, direct contact with nurses, doctors, embryologists, etc., and being able to assist in the evolution of their embryos, as well as involving the patient in each step along the way, are the advantages of telemedicine, which is the present and future of assisted reproduction.

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