Women undergoing IVF treatments may soon be able to keep a check on their progress using their BlackBerries or iPhones-a move that could revolutionise the way doctors deal with patients.
Doctors at IVF Australia, one of Sydney’s biggest clinics, will install an interactive electronic health system within about 12 months, allowing women to manage their own medical records, log test results and communicate with doctors and fellow patients.
The move comes after a successful trial of 17 patients who used a more basic version of the system for eight weeks -- the usual length of time it takes to complete one IVF cycle.
“It’s incredibly exciting because it empowers women. In the IVF world, our patients are already massive users of the internet, including chat rooms, but there is not a lot of doctor involvement which is a shame,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Gavin Sacks, a fertility expert and one of the trial organisers, as saying.
The move would also allow doctors to analyse a patient’s history and answers questions, based on current test results, even if the patient had changed clinics.
The system was best described as part-Facebook, part-internet banking, said Enrico Coiera, the director of the Centre for Health Informatics at the University of NSW.
“We picked IVF for the trial because it’s a very demanding two months that the patients go through. They need a lot of support,” said Coiera.
“The women used it a lot to help them remember what they needed to do,” he added The trial results will be presented at a symposium on e-health at the University of NSW.