Gaining Hands-On Experience with an Embryo Transfer Simulator

The ASRM Embryo Transfer Simulator (“Simulator”), introduced in October 2015 at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Annual Scientific Congress, has been deployed successfully over the last year at embryo transfer training sessions and simulation workshops from Alabama to Helsinki.

It has garnered a positive response from the hundreds of healthcare professionals and physicians who have experienced working with the Simulator, most recently at the ASRM 2016 Scientific Congress & Expo in Salt Lake City, UT.

“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.

More than 100 healthcare professionals in the fields of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) took part in the ASRM pre-Congress embryo transfer courses provided during the 2016 ASRM Scientific Congress held in October. Over 500 Congress attendees visited the ASRM Simulation Pavilion and experienced the Simulator first-hand.

Further to providing training for ultrasound-guided and -unguided embryo transfers in IVF, the capabilities of the simulator have been expanded over the past 12 months to include simulation modules for training in Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and in ultrasound method for guiding embryo transfers for nurses and other healthcare professionals.

In July 2016, at the 2016 European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) Annual Meeting in Helsinki, Finland, 75 ART/IVF healthcare professionals from around the globe took part in embryo transfer simulation courses. A further 100 physicians took part in hands-on simulation workshops at the August 2016 SREI National Fellows Symposium held in Park City, UT.

A series of “train-the-trainer” faculty workshops were held between January and June at the ASRM Simulation Training Center in Birmingham, AL, in preparation for all simulation-based educational activities.

Since October 2015, more than 300 healthcare professionals have given 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

The final stage of IVF – the transfer of the embryo into the uterine cavity for implantation – is often stressful for both physician and patient. This anxiety is usually attributed to the potential difficulty of the transfer due to individual patient anatomy, the high cost and time associated with IVF/ART, 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 says.

The simulator supplies in-training physicians with the chance to practice simulated transfers with different degrees of difficulty in a risk-free, safe, environment and with unlimited repetitions. They gain real-time simulation metrics (feedback) which, when paired with structured debriefing with expert faculty, facilitates development of cognitive and motor skills needed for proficiency in embryo transfer even further.

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 by using a structured simulation-based technique to learn basic embryo transfer methods and the 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.”

Dr. Richard Paulson, ASRM President

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.”

VirtaMed Co-CEO Stefan Tuchschmid

About ASRM

ASRM has more than 8,000 members in over 100 countries, it is a multidisciplinary organization dedicated to the advancement of the practice and science of reproductive medicine. The Society fulfills its mission through the pursuit of excellence in education and research and through advocacy on behalf of physicians, patients, and affiliated health care providers.

The Society is dedicated to sponsoring and facilitating educational activities for the lay public and continuing medical education activities for professionals who are engaged in the practice of, and research in, reproductive medicine.

About VirtaMed

VirtaMed is a Swiss company that develops & produces highly realistic surgical simulators for medical training. Surgeons use original instruments to train in a safe environment before performing surgeries on patients.

Vision

VirtaMed's vision is to improve the quality of medical care with state-of-the-art, virtual reality based medical training and education.

Mission

Our mission is to alter the way medical skills are taught.

Values

As a company, we live innovation in a customer-oriented, agile, diverse and passionate work environment.


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Last updated: May 14, 2019 at 8:59 AM

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