In vitro fertilization (IVF) and other types of assisted reproduction technologies (ART) have led to over one million babies being born in the United States since the nation's first successful IVF treatment in 1981. Today, there are over 1,000 IVF clinics operating in the U.S., and hundreds of thousands of hopeful parents continue to seek this specialized treatment each year.
That means IVF clinics have their hands full when it comes to things like recording, tracking and securing patient information; planning and executing treatments; charting and billing—and that's just the start of their unique challenges. With this much at stake for assisted reproduction providers, IVF clinics must equip themselves with strong software solutions in order to stay organized, HIPAA compliant, effective and profitable.
Which is why IVF software is so important. In this Buyer's Guide, we'll go over all the essentials to help you understand what this valuable software offers users, what your options are when it comes to features and functionality and a few other considerations to help you decide on the best solution for your practice.
Here's what we'll cover:
In vitro fertilization is a form of assisted reproductive technology, which is defined by the CDC as any kind of medical fertility treatment that involves both eggs and embryos.
I don't have to tell you how crucial it is for IVF and other fertility clinics to follow strict protocols and stay immensely organized when doing this important work. What I can tell you is how much IVF software will help you do that.
Most IVF systems act as specialized electronic health records (EHR) systems that offer the same standard features, such as charting, billing and note-taking, in addition to segment-specific features (which we'll talk more about later) such as donor and surrogate databases and cryogenic storage for embryo and sperm cells. You can also find some practice management features in IVF software to help you communicate with your patients and stay on top of scheduling as well.
There will always be some variation among software products, and ICF software is no different. Because it is a medical solution, though, many of these systems will share common functionality that IVF clinics must have in order to serve their patients. Those features are:
|Patient management||Record, track and reference all pertinent background information for patient couples, including medical histories, demographics, disease screenings, lab test results, previous treatments, etc.|
|Donor/surrogate registration||Collect information from potential donors and surrogates and store it in a secure database.|
|Treatment management||Supports a variety of treatment options with notes, tracking, coding, analysis and diagnostics.|
|Charting||Makes note taking easier with templates and auto-fill options for charting and coding.|
|Embryo & sperm storage||Registration of all collected and stored samples keeps banks organized and compliant by tracking collection dates, embryo and sperm assessments, storage status etc.|
|Batch control||Links all tissue and the medical tools used to handle them and groups them into batches, then the success rate of pregnancies is tracked for each batch in order to quickly identify problems that may arise.|
And remember, typical IVF software systems are more robust versions of EHRs and practice management products, so you should also consider features that serve those more general purposes such as scheduling, patient portal/engagement and billing. Here's a look at what one of these features looks like in action:
Treatment tracking in MediTEX IVF
Among the many benefits of adopting IVF software for your fertility clinic is the fact that choosing this specialized software will give you the required features and functionality for your field that other practice management and EHR systems won't offer.
This can save you from having to seek out standalone software solutions to fertility-specific needs, such as cryogenic cell storage and donor databases.
Besides that major advantage of IVF software, here are a few other key benefits to consider:
The potential issues of IVF software are much more standard; the biggest one being the cost. Any medical system will be a major expense, and that's especially true for such specialized software. Just make sure you fully-explore your needs and options before coming up with a budget so it'll be easier to stick to.
A few other important things to be aware of when researching vendors include:
Cloud-based vs on-premise. While there are IVF systems available to license and deploy on-premise, most software in this space will be cloud-based. That means your data is more likely to be hosted by the software vendor and accessible via the internet. While this method tends to be less expensive than on-premise software, there are additional security considerations.
Because you have to make sure you're practice is HIPAA-compliant at all times, you'll want to go into detail with any IVF software vendors you speak to on what security measures they take to protect your patients (for example, do they automatically encrypt data? Do they keep backdoor access to your system after selling it to you? etc.)
Pricing. There are a lot of variables that affect pricing of any software system, but some IVF software vendors add to that by offering configuration options to let you select only the features you need, which will impact the software cost. This is great for smaller practices that won't need the all-inclusive functionality that larger IVF practices will require.
Implementation. If you're switching from a different software product, you're going to need to (securely) transfer all your data and train on the new IVF software. That's going to mean spending additional money, so keep that in mind when looking at pricing.
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