Sudhaker Jadhav, COO, Oasis Fertility
Key learnings from the pandemic
The potential of COVID-19 severe pandemic necessitated the development of an organised and well-reasoned plan for the management of embryology/andrology laboratories while safeguarding the wellbeing of patients and IVF staff
We at Oasis Fertility created an indigenous and exhaustive SOP and road map even considering a second wave of the pandemic. Our priority was to give a very high degree of safety assurance to our patients and all our staff and stringent safety protocols right from the patient’s phone call to the centre till she gets her embryo transferred.
There was no reference point for us to learn from the past, it was those crucial 45 to 60 days that taught us how to be fight this pandemic. Looking back, we at Oasis Fertility feel that we have come a long way in setting up some decent safety protocols.
On a different tangent, I think COVID-19 has taught us to be considerate and empathetic towards people and restricted us from spending money on luxury.
How many times as a medical consumer you had a feeling of regret when all the tests ordered by a physician were normal after paying a hefty price to get the tests done. In the next decade it’s the onus on the entire healthcare service providers to keep the costs low and reduce the burden of medical consumers. It is estimated that around 25 per cent of the healthcare costs can be easily avoided if one is taking right clinical decisions and not ordering too many diagnostic tests.
What should healthcare leaders consider as they prepare for the post-pandemic year?
I think we should be more proactive and anticipate the situation to continue for another year or so and start our planning resources to our goals.
We all know that online consultations have grown a 1000-fold but unfortunately in IVF treatments it doesn’t work that way as the patients have to come to the centre. However, we have tried and reduced the number of visits by launching IVF at home and also doing a lot of things remotely such as, registrations, appointment booking, history taking, counselling and patient education which is now done totally contactless.
We anticipate a spike in the IVFs in the coming months and the next financial year could be better than anticipated as there has been a decent learning curve by the IVF sector itself on how to handle the COVID-19 situation. In the same way, couples also understand that their biological clock is ticking and with every passing month the couples are losing out on 0.3 per cent of chance of conceiving, on a cumulative basis six months delay causes 2 per cent chances of not conceiving.
What should healthcare leaders do to curtail costs and keep the flock together?
I think the industry leaders should look at curtailing the spiralling cost of IVF and give the benefit to the patients. This is possible if the revisions happen right from the supply side like IVF consumables and pharmacy. We have been talking to the leaders from the supply side to look at a price revision. There are aggregators who are playing a decent role who can actually bring down the cost of per cycle. We feel that these kinds of aggregators should be encouraged who can bring in a lot of value on board for both the IVF space and the patients.
What is the outlook for the coming year?
I feel that next year could get better as there will be a spike in footfall at IVF centres and also people per se feel safe going to a stand-alone clinic rather than a fertility centre being operated within a multi-speciality hospital or a mother and child hospital.
The numbers would be very positive as the demand which was restricted due to the coronavirus will ease out and also hoping that by the starting of the coming year we might get a vaccine.