Introduced in October 2015 at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Annual Scientific Congress, the ASRM Embryo Transfer Simulator (“Simulator”) has been successfully deployed over the last 12 months at embryo transfer simulation workshops and training sessions from Alabama to Helsinki, garnering positive response from the hundreds of physicians and healthcare professionals who have experienced working with the Simulator, most recently in Salt Lake City, UT at the ASRM 2016 Scientific Congress & Expo.
Image credit: VirtaMed
“For ASRM, this year has been, in many ways, the year of the embryo transfer simulator,” summarizes ASRM CEO Dr. Richard H. Reindollar, M.D.” During the 2016 ASRM Scientific Congress held in October, over 100 healthcare professionals in the fields of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) participated in the ASRM pre-Congress embryo transfer courses offered and over 500 Congress attendees visited the ASRM Simulation Pavilion and experienced the Simulator first-hand. In addition to providing training for ultrasound -guided and –unguided embryo transfers in IVF, the Simulator’s capabilities were expanded over the past year to include simulation modules for training in Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and in ultrasound technique for guiding embryo transfers for nurses and other healthcare professionals.
In July 2016, 75 ART/IVF healthcare professionals from around the world participated in embryo transfer simulation courses at the 2016 European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) Annual Meeting in Helsinki, Finland. Another 100 physicians participated in hands-on simulation workshops at the August 2016 SREI National Fellows Symposium held in Park City, UT. In preparation for all simulation-based educational activities, a series of “train-the-trainer” faculty workshops were held between January and June at the ASRM Simulation Training Center in Birmingham, AL. And since October 2015, over 300 healthcare professionals have provided expert feedback on the Simulator and hundreds more have experienced the Simulator at various VirtaMed exhibits held at professional medical society meetings around the world, most recently at the 22nd IFFS World Congress held in New Delhi, India.
Game Changer - Augments Physician Training - Fills Gap
For both patient and physician, the final step of IVF – the transfer of the embryo into the uterine cavity for implantation – is often stressful. This anxiety is often attributed to the high cost and time associated with IVF/ART, the potential difficulty of the transfer due to individual patient anatomy, and the delicate nature of the embryo itself. “Nearly 50% of our fellows training to be IVF specialists have historically received little or no training in embryo transfer because of the importance of this final step in the IVF process and the difficulty in allowing trainees to perform it on patients for the first time,” Dr. Reindollar explains.
The Simulator provides in-training physicians the opportunity to practice simulated transfers with varying degrees of difficulty in a safe, risk-free environment and with unlimited repetitions. They receive real-time simulation metrics (feedback) that, when combined with structured debriefing with expert faculty, further facilitates development of motor and cognitive skills required to attain proficiency in embryo transfer. In conjunction with the ASRM Curriculum for Embryo Transfer and the ASRM Standard Embryo Transfer Protocol, the Simulator is a tool that significantly augments current physician training using a structured simulation-based method to learn basic embryo transfer techniques and characteristics of an ideal transfer.
“The Embryo Transfer Simulator is truly a game changer. Universally, those using the Simulator have expressed their surprise in how realistic the experience is for them. There has been tremendous excitement generated about the gap filled with this new teaching tool…no simulator can wipe out all the stress of the crucial moment, but the physician will be better prepared and more confident even if this is his or her first time transferring a live embryo,” says Dr. Richard Paulson, ASRM president.
VirtaMed Co-CEO Stefan Tuchschmid said:
the company was excited to work with ASRM, an organization that has such an impact on reproductive practices. VirtaMed already provided training tools for IUD placement and other contraceptive methods, so we jumped at the opportunity to help the medical community with this other side of family planning.