What to Expect in a Fertility Clinic as a Patient
Patient Expectations: What Makes a Good Fertility Clinic?
Thank goodness for my friends.
We all need community and we all need reminders.
I just got a good one.
Listening to my friend talk about her experiences recently with a medical condition that is very concerning. Hearing her talk about making appointments, getting phone calls returned, having questions answered, test results forwarded, making sure that insurance is in place and so on.
It's a lot. And the process doesn't always go smoothly. We all know that. With infertility, there are specific additional stressors, such as typical lack of fertility insurance coverage and the emotional burden that many patients feel.
What should one expect from their doctor's office? Here are some basics. Some will be more or less important to you. You may be the patient who cares only for singleton pregnancy rates and the rest doesn't matter. Or you may be the patient who needs the person answering the phone to be just a little kinder than usual.
6 Things to Look For in a Fertility Clinic -- or Any Doctor's Office
- Expect polite when you come into the practice and sign in at the front desk. Notice how busy is it and be aware that an in-depth answer to some questions may not be possible, but always expect polite. Thank you to our RMACT front desk team members who go far beyond polite~ Eleanor, Carmen, Peggy, Denise and Roberta (and all those who fill in on a regular basis).
- Getting phone calls returned in a timely way is reasonable. What does that mean? It means if you call during business hours, on a non-holiday, hearing back from your doctor's practice within 24 hours is very reasonable. Of course, in an emergency, you should hear back much more quickly~within an hour.
- Having questions answered in an appointment. More than reasonable, the main point of speaking with your fertility doctor is to understand what they are recommending for your course of treatment. That is why they are giving you the information, so you can make an informed decision. If you don't understand, ask questions. If you don't understand the answers, ask more questions. Write down the answers.
- You are entitled to privacy. That's why HIPPA is so prevalent these days. Expect that you, your condition and your treatment are being discussed only in ways that will further your results.
- Test results should be delivered in compassionate ways. Sometimes it is necessary to give unwanted news over the phone. Think about how you would like to recieve news and give directions to your doctor's practice. If you would prefer not to be called at work or have messages left, then communicate what you would like. You are the patient and your doctor's practice should be responsible about respecting your wishes.
- Insurance and financial benefits. I have to admit how tremendously spoiled I am these days. When I go into other doctor's offices, it's challenging to hear all the reasons why I can't know this or how that's something I have to find out on my own. Our RMACT financial department (Kimone, Natesha, Janice, Louise, Mike, Teresa, Kristin and Tina) go above and way beyond to get answers for our patients. They do so with compassion, a lovely thing for a finance department. You should be able to know what you are being charged, why and when.
Your Feedback is Important at Your Doctor's Office and Practice
These are just a few things you should expect at your doctor's office and practice. If some things are missing, consider talking to someone at the office who could help. Many practices are good at some of these things and not as good at others. If you are more happy than not with your doctor's practice, then consider letting them know that, as well as sharing what you would like to see them do better.
We welcome feedback at RMACT. We know that we don't do everything perfectly, every time.
One of our strengths is that we want to improve your experience with us.
If you're having a problem, let us know, we will work with you to fix it. If RMACT is doing a great job for you, let us know that too. We all love hearing good feedback as well.
Communication is key when you are working with a doctor. Help us by letting us know what you need.
About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.