New Tech Is Vital as COVID-19 Alters the Future of Fertility
Posted by Sean Timm
Highlighting shortcomings in the current fertility health system, and changing reproductive plans for years to come, COVID-19 is reshaping the future for fertility practices around the world. Thankfully, now is the perfect time to make the changes and investments to prepare.
With hospitals impacted the most during the pandemic, we’re only beginning to see the long-term ripple effects elsewhere in the industry. Recent studies show the fertility sector, in particular, will face new challenges and a changing patient landscape. However, the latest healthcare and practice technology might hold the answers fertility providers will need going forward.
Declining Birth Rates
Quarantine measures led more than a few to suggest America could face a surge of pregnancies in the year ahead, a “baby boom.” According to a recent study published in Science Magazine, though, the future likely holds the opposite.
During the 1918-1919 H1N1 outbreak, birthrates dropped by 13%, but the study also compares our current circumstances to the 2008 financial crisis. “Given the irreversible nature of childbearing and the substantial costs associated with child-rearing, unemployment and lost income will necessarily reduce fertility.”
In Fast Company, Modern Fertility Co-founder Afton Vechery says the pandemic is, unfortunately, aligning with many of the reasons women traditionally delay pregnancy. From financial concerns to wanting to travel more before starting a family, the decision is becoming ever more complex.
Referring to a recent survey, “Almost one in three respondents say they’ve changed their fertility plans due to COVID-19.”
Now Is the Time to Prepare
With the near future offering fewer patients and more significant economic uncertainty, investing in cost-saving approaches and practice improvements now can make all the difference.
- Update or redesign your waiting room
- Give your practice website a new coat of polish
- Focus on patient outreach and social media
- Look for new software to make your workflow smoother
Every practice has that to-do list that never quite seems to get done. Capitalizing on current downtime to finally see to it is a solid start when it comes to strengthening your practice.
Working more efficiently, streamlining your practice, and optimizing your team’s skills and time is nothing new. Doing so with the help of the latest technology, however, means it’s easier than ever.
Whether it is improving your EHR or finding different, more office-centric software solutions, technology can help save time and money.
Telehealth Ensures Your Patients Still Have Access
As the pandemic has hit each health sector differently, it's shown a light on areas needing improvement. With fertility, that light has exposed a continuing problem of access.
Writing in Forbes, Jake Diner, CEO of digital clinic company Fertility Cloud, explains that as much as technology can improve a practice’s ability to track and maintain care, “only an REI specialist can diagnose and prescribe medical treatment.”
More than that, “only telehealth is uniquely equipped to provide access to specialty doctors for underprivileged societal groups who otherwise lack access.”
Telehealth use has skyrocketed in the past months as a way for physicians to stay connected with patients sheltering at home. Efforts are even underway to keep many of the regulation changes the technology received in March and April. And Diner argues it has a vital role to play in the future of fertility.
When a woman is pregnant or is having trouble trying to become pregnant, the last thing anyone wants is for her to delay care. That’s where having a HIPAA-compliant, dedicated Telehealth system can help.
With an Uncertain Future, Adaptability Is Key
Whether making alterations around the office, changing EHRs, or investing in Telehealth, there is still plenty of work your practice can do to make even the most uncertain of futures a little easier.
Modern technology has advanced, allowing new ways to improve, and a wide range of ways to reach new patients. Now is the time to make the most of it.