Regional disparities in access to assisted reproductive technology: assessment of patient satisfaction when employing modern technology to close the gap

Sasha Mikhael, Anna Gaidis, Larisa Gavrilova-Jordan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Geographic disparities for assisted reproductive technology (ART) continue to exist. Travel cost and time off work may create additional barriers for patients living remotely. Implementing telehealth can alleviate these barriers by reducing office visits. The aim of this study was to evaluate patient satisfaction with telehealth during ART. Methods: This was a cross-sectional survey and retrospective cohort study. Patients living remotely who underwent ART utilizing telehealth between 2015 and 2018 at a single institution were selected for the telehealth group. The non-telehealth control group included randomly selected patients who underwent IVF at the same institution between 2015 and 2018. Demographic variables and treatment outcomes were obtained for both groups. A patient satisfaction questionnaire was distributed to telehealth patients. Statistical analysis using χ2 test was performed to compare ART outcomes between both groups. Results: Ninety-seven control and 97 telehealth patients were included. For telehealth patients, the mean number of office visits and distance traveled was 2.9 (± 0.8 SD) and 143.1 miles (± 49.2 SD) respectively. 58.8% of patients completed the survey. 44/57 participants had an oocyte retrieval and 42/44 underwent embryo transfer. For those who completed the survey, the clinical pregnancy rate was 31/44 and the live birth rate was 25/44. There was no difference in treatment outcomes between telehealth compared to controls. 73% of patients were highly satisfied with telehealth. Conclusions: Telehealth can improve access to ART in underserved areas and results in high patient satisfaction. Reproductive health providers could consider telehealth as a safe and efficacious tool to ameliorate geographic disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Access to care
  • Assisted reproduction
  • Geographic disparities
  • Telehealth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Genetics(clinical)

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