New guidelines can help fertility practitioners build stronger patient relationships

Pregnantish, the infertility community and content site, has crafted powerful new  relationship guidelines to help fertility practitioners build stronger patient relationships, using simple communication tools designed to make every interaction count.

The guidelines, entitled How to Create Happier Patients In Less Time, is based on data from a recent survey of more than 1,000 fertility patients, and in consultation with an expert Advisory Panel. The survey was designed to support infertility doctors and their teams as they navigate difficult patient conversations and retention challenges. Learn more

Every fertility patient wants to feel seen and heard — and every practitioner wants to support their patients and have a thriving practice. These relationship guidelines are designed to fulfill both needs by creating a genuine sense of connection and communication between practitioners and patients.”

Andrea Syrtash, Founder and Relationship Expert, Pregnantish

The guidelines and the free Real Talk Series Workshop and Tools were based on the Real Talk Four E’s Protocol which encourages all healthcare provider team members to Empathize, Encourage, Educate and Empower patients, and walk through real-life scenarios with tools to help practitioners address the patient frustrations that can prevent optimal outcomes.  

Written in consultation with Pregnantish Advisory Panel members Dr. Serena H. Chen, Dr. Aimee D.  Eyvazzadeh, MPH, Dr. Eric J. Forman, HCLD, Dr. Jason Griffith, and Dr. Julie Lamb, and made possible  through third-party sponsorships from EMD Serono and CooperSurgical Fertility and Genomic Solutions, the guidelines and workshop are based on results from the new Real Talk About Why I Left My Fertility Doctor survey, which revealed the top reasons patients choose to stay with their doctor:

  • 29% The clinic accepts my insurance
  • 26% I am enrolled in next steps in my treatment
  • 25% I feel a connection with the clinic’s staff
  • 20% I feel optimistic about my treatment

The report also detailed what patients value most in their fertility doctor:

  • 24% I feel my doctor is a good fit for me  
  • 13% I feel like my doctor is open to exploring treatment options that are right for me
  • 11% I feel a connection with my doctor
  • 10% I feel listened to and cared for by my doctor

The report notes too that the top reasons patients leave their doctor include:

  • 23% I felt the treatment/approach was not tailored for me
  • 18% I didn’t feel heard  
  • 14% I couldn’t afford it  
  • 8% I felt like I was just a number  
  • 8% My treatment wasn’t working

Syrtash noted that the median age of the confidential survey’s respondents was 33, with an average of four years of trying to conceive.

“This report reflects the changing face of fertility,” she says. “Increasingly, today’s fertility patient is a Millennial who wants a much more active and self-directed role in her treatment and is seeking a supportive connection with her doctor and practice.”

Fertility practitioners who take the time to review the guidelines and complete the free Pregnantish Real Talk Series Workshop will be added to the Pregnantish Verified Network website, so patients can see all the fertility healthcare providers who have taken the time to hear their feedback and are focused on enhancing relationships with the patients they see.

“In the end, it’s about helping to strengthen the infertility patient-provider relationship so patients don’t leave treatment prematurely,” says Syrtash. “It is a win for all who have the shared goal of creating healthy babies and happy families.”

The Real Talk About Why I Left My Fertility Doctor survey was conducted February to April 2019.

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