04. 12. 21
The effect of COVID-19 on existing operations in healthcare has been challenging and created significant changes. Clinics need to make office visits safe and easy. Patients now want to manage their healthcare on their own terms. Michelle Dowling, Senior Director of Marketing at Rectangle Health, talked with Dr. David Adamson, CEO and Founder of ARC Fertility, to ask his thoughts on what this potential “new normal” looks like for fertility clinics and their patients.
(Michelle Dowling) What are the current challenges you’re seeing at fertility clinics?
(Dr. David Adamson) Due to the impact of COVID-19, many new procedures and safety protocols must be observed. Clinics must ensure patients and staff are taking necessary safety precautions, while recovering lost revenue from the shutdown. It’s imperative for clinics to reduce the number of people coming into the office. To do this, clinics need to clearly communicate with patients prior to their visit on the current protocols and what needs to be done before entering the office. This creates a lot more work for the clinic.
(MD) What are current challenges impacting fertility patients?
(DA) Patients have been waiting to resume IVF cycles that have been halted because of the pandemic, derailing their planning, timing, and creating emotional stress. They are also experiencing anxiety and anticipating possible subsequent waves of COVID-19 overwhelming the healthcare system and delaying their treatment further. Convenient, user-friendly, and contactless interactions with their providers will elicit confidence when they enter the clinic.
(MD) With these changes in procedures, how has this affected patients’ expectations at the clinic?
(DA) I have the perfect example to explain this question. I recently took my car in to get something fixed. Normally, the check-in process would take about 25 minutes. In the era of COVID-19, everything at the dealership was done outside. They took all my information digitally and I was in and out in 10 minutes. The healthcare industry must do the same and look for ways to facilitate the consumer experience. Clinics must prioritize personal safety by limiting the number of direct interactions with other people.
Convenient, user-friendly, and contactless interactions with their providers will elicit confidence when they enter the clinic.
(MD) We’ve all heard the term “the new normal”. Can you share some insights on the “new normal” and how it relates to fertility treatment?
(DA) People are starting to refer to the “new normal” as what our society is going to look like when COVID is all over. Currently, we’re in what I’d like to call the “intra-COVID” period or the transition phase. When you look at this concept from a patient’s perspective, we’re looking at the personal benefits and harms of our everyday activities. For example, I want to go to the store to get milk, but is that too risky? All of us are making these assessments multiple times a day. Unfortunately, this “new normal” creates a lot of uncertainty and anxiety when it comes to fertility treatment. Even though fertility services are coming back, they may not be at the top of the healthcare system’s list for elective care depending on how bad the pandemic remains or, indeed, becomes again. It’s important for clinics to communicate a lot more with their patients–and patients are expecting this. The”new normal” puts patients’ health in the clinic’s hands.
(MD) What about the impact of the “new normal” on IVF clinics?
(DA) Reductions in personnel are becoming more common. Because of this, clinics are working extra hard to maintain patient volume. Patients’ expectations are also changing. They want less people, less contact, and less time spent in the clinic. There will be continued patient concern about getting proper care. These uncertainties are causing issues, forcing a lot of clinics to look at how they’re treating their patients and resulting in fewer visits and changing protocols to minimize physical contact. More telehealth is being performed.
(MD) What advantages are you seeing come out of the “new normal?”
(DA) There’s always a silver lining. Frankly, right now it’s hard to find it. If there is a silver lining, it is that some changes in society are starting to happen. People are starting to look at the changes they need to make for the future, and they’re more open to change. People are more focused on family and friends. In business, one of the trends is digital transformation and we’re going into a digital world. There’s no one system that does everything. We must be businesssavvy and have digital platforms that can manage your business.
(MD) Dr. Adamson, we recently created a partnership together and could you explain how you believe the ARC Fertility and Rectangle Health relationship means to fertility clinics?
(DA) One of the things we saw with Rectangle Health is that is addresses all aspects of the payment process affecting patients and the clinic. It’s modular. It can be integrated into other digital platforms within your practice. Digital transformation is here and is happening more and more quickly. Clinics need to provide an experience that consumers expect.
Rectangle Health addresses all aspects of the payment process.
At Rectangle Health, we enhance the experience for both the clinic and the patient. For patients, our solution provides choices, convenience, and flexibility. For clinics, it expedites payments from the patient and brings efficiency to the front desk.