Building Value Into Our Fertility Clinic

How our culture sets our tone of care and the positive experiences of our patients

determining fertility clinic valueTransparency. Value. Quality. These words are a constant chorus in the background of anyone practicing medicine today. As we strive to provide all of these things to our patients, we’d like to take a step back and evaluate the words carefully.

We’ve broken “quality” out and covered it in our blog, “Why IVF Success Rates Matter to You: Looking Beyond the Numbers.” Getting a handle on quality can be slippery, as just reading straight line information about a clinic’s in vitro fertilization (IVF) success rates as published by the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) is problematic to say the least.

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How we address transparency and value at CU Advanced Reproductive Medicine (ARM) is more straightforward. It may also be more important in setting the tone of the care we provide, as well as our patients’ overall experience in our fertility clinic.

First of all, we know of no one who went into medicine and became a doctor or a nurse who did not intend to do the very best job they could and take the very best care of their patients possible. While there may be a few bad eggs who make headlines from time to time, we think it is fair to say that your doctor and everyone in his or her office wake up in the morning intending to do a great job.

That said, how each of us goes about that mission can vary. Some of it is within the very nature of the practice. The culture of any doctors’ office is set by those at the top. If a doctor is in solo practice, he or she alone sets the tone.

Our university culture: one-stop medicine & cozy environment

In a group practice, the group’s designated leader(s) set the tone. In our system at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, which is a complex academic medical center, we live with a set of trade-offs. On the one hand, we are part of a huge medical campus that can provide one-stop shopping for virtually any problem you can encounter.

On the other hand, we strive to maintain a “high-touch,” cozy environment for our patients. This is one reason why ARM is located off the main University of Colorado Hospital campus and in the Stapleton area.

Let’s talk about the different medical buzzwords, starting with transparency. At ARM we post our current prices for our procedures on our website. We do this so our patients will be better able to understand what the various treatments will cost them. We do our best to make our prices affordable and to keep this list current, but it is subject to change.

It also does not include all of the costs that may be associated with your treatment. That’s because the amount of medication that you will need to complete your treatment is not known in advance, and can vary and affect what you will need to pay out of pocket. Unfortunately, in our part of the country, health insurance coverage for assisted reproductive technology procedures is generally not available.

Only you and your partner can assess a fertility clinic’s true value

What is value? It’s important to consider this before you embark on a fertility treatment and when you are selecting a center. Only you and your partner can assess value, as it is based on personal, internally driven preferences. Value is not the same as price, since you may get a bargain basement price for an ineffective treatment.

The values of the practice you are seeking will make themselves clear as you visit the local centers. It is a reflection of the values of the leaders of that practice. What are you looking for?

At ARM, we strive to provide care that will address your particular type of infertility and will use whatever modality will work the best for you, as determined by your initial medical evaluation. We want you to build your family in as cost-effective a way as possible.

Our doctors are performing cutting-edge research that has changed medical treatment for some types of infertility over the past few years1,2. And current investigations are underway that may reach far into the future to affect how and when we treat infertility problems.

We are transparent, we offer value for our patients, and we offer high quality. For a detailed, nuanced look at our quality as represented by our success rates, please read “Why IVF Success Rates Matter to You: Looking Beyond the Numbers.”

These numbers are what many people consider first and foremost when shopping for a fertility clinic. Certainly, we’re proud of our IVF success rates. But unless potential patients know about how those numbers are derived, they’re likely to mistake a leveraged statistic for actual value.

1. Diamond MP, Legro RS, Coutifaris C, et al. Letrozole, Gonadotropin, or Clomiphene for Unexplained Infertility. N Engl J Med 2015;373:1230-40.

2. Legro RS, Brzyski RG, Diamond MP, et al. Letrozole versus clomiphene for infertility in the polycystic ovary syndrome. N Engl J Med 2014;371:119-29.