Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

How virtual technology can deliver more personalised fertility services

February 7, 2018

From routine clinical events like asthma check-ups and flu jabs, to major surgery and treatment for serious conditions, any type of medical intervention can make patients feel anxious.

Some medical procedures however, have the added dimension of being particularly sensitive in nature, which can cause even greater apprehension. Take fertility treatment for example; most people on this journey will be doing so after lengthy deliberation and many months – if not years – of disappointment and loss. It’s therefore not surprising that many are already extremely nervous before even embarking on their treatment.

Not only is it a traumatic process; it is also time-consuming. Depending on which stage a patient has reached in in their treatment, they may require appointments as often as every other day. This inevitably impacts on many aspects of their lives and can be particularly difficult for those living or working further away from their fertility clinic. Getting stuck in traffic; struggling to find a parking space; delayed or cancelled public transport; spiralling travel costs – all of these can worsen an already stressful situation.

That’s why a new service recently introduced by Yorkshire Fertility is such an exciting breakthrough.

Virtual consultations

Yorkshire Fertility is based at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust and provides services for patients across the county. Led by consultant Martin DeBono who opened the Calderdale Assisted Conception Unit in 1996, it is now the largest satellite IVF unit in the country, and as part of its commitment to continually improving services for patients, the clinic is offering virtual consultations for appointments that require no physical intervention.

Mr Martin DeBono, Yorkshire Fertility’s Clinical Lead.

The general age range of patients undergoing fertility treatment means they are likely to be familiar with virtual communication in both their private and professional lives, and for any patient, but perhaps particularly for those who work full-time and/or have other children to consider, being able to discuss their progress with a nurse or doctor from their own homes or office location, offers a more relaxed and less time-consuming alternative to the awkwardness of regularly taking time out of work or constantly having to organise childcare.

The technology

This service is provided using Cisco Jabber Guest ™, and the system is incredibly simple to use. Patients will receive an email that confirms their appointment time and contains a web link, which takes them to a virtual reception area. They are then greeted by the receptionist and enter a virtual waiting area, just as they would wait for their face to face appointment in the clinic.

In fact, virtual appointments are just like any other private, one-to-one consultations. Each session lasts exactly the same amount of time as a face to face meeting, and Cisco Jabber Guest ™ ensures complete confidentiality. In order to use the service, all patients need are a reliable internet connection, a quiet, private location for the call, and if they are using a mobile device, a free Cisco Jabber Guest app, which can be downloaded from their app store.

For staff, appointments are scheduled alongside face to face appointments, so there is no additional work involved for either reception or clinical team members.

Keeping it real

All patients who have used the service so far have been very happy and value its convenience.

Not that virtual appointments will ever completely replace face to face consultations of course; patients will need to be monitored throughout their treatment, and there will always be times when they prefer to meet with a nurse or consultant. But by reducing the number of face to face visits, Yorkshire Fertility is offering its patients flexibility and additional support during one of the most significant periods of their lives.

Further information is available on the Yorkshire Fertility website, which includes a very informative blog. And don’t forget to contact us for more information on personalising your health and care services.

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