An exploration of the quality of patient care during IVF

Fertility policies have long prioritised patient-centeredness in care, that is, “providing care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions.” However, patient-centeredness has been called a “neglected outcome” in fertility care.

Decisions regarding testing and treatment for infertility can be complicated by the presence of multiple decision makers who necessarily bear different costs and may have conflicting preferences for how to resolve infertility. People who are experiencing infertility must therefore weigh multiple factors when making decisions about medical testing and treatment for infertility. It is important they receive care that is “patient-centred”, that is, care that is sensitive to their preferences, needs, and values. Patient-centred care is a pillar of quality health care and is important to patients experiencing infertility. 

This study therefore aims to measure patient-centredness of care by asking patients to opt in to complete an anonymous survey which includes the Patient-Centred Questionnaire-Infertility (PCQ-Infertility). The PCQ is a standardised instrument which assesses eight  dimensions of quality of care: accessibility, information provision, communication, patient involvement, respect for patients’ values, continuity and transition, staff competence and organisation.. A separate questionnaire asking clinic staff to report on their own performance relating to patient-centredness will be deployed to clinics in order to understand the clinic’s perfectives.

The study will be conducted via surveys which will be deployed by Qualtrics and is expected to  take less than 10 minutes to complete. Participants will be recruited via social media and the EFS database of patients and clinics. Patients (man or woman) who have had at least one round of fertility treatment (including IVF, egg donation, egg freezing, Intrauterine insemination) in the last 5 years will be  eligible to complete the patient survey and the medical director of clinics (or a member of the clinical staff that the medical director delegates the task to) will be eligible to complete the clinic survey.

Participants will be asked a series of conditional questions about their experiences during fertility treatment. Patients’ experience to be measured in the following seven focus areas: Accessibility, Information, Communication, Patient Involvement, Patient Appreciation, Continuity of Care and Professionalism.

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