Creating a more inclusive patient experience


Group3-1Providing inclusive care for all patients is of fundamental importance in fertility—and though many clinics and companies have made strides, there’s still work to be done. As we collectively work to increase access to care, we must continue to ensure that patients across all genders, sexual orientations, racial and ethnic identities, ages, anatomy, and disabilities have the positive patient experience they are entitled to. Every patient deserves to feel represented, knowledgeable, comfortable, and confident with their treatment plan and healthcare experience. At EngagedMD, we've been working hard to offer more inclusive patient resources, and we're excited to share these as well as some tips we've learned along the way.

Inclusivity makes a difference

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." 

– Maya Angelou


Recent studies published by ASRM demonstrate how inclusivity in the healthcare setting impacts patient experience and mental health. These studies found significant barriers for marginalized populations seeking fertility treatment, especially LGBTQ+ and ethnically diverse groups. Some reported barriers for patients include limited reproductive health awareness across minority patients and heteronormative practices, among others. This anonymous patient quote illustrates the impact that exclusive representation can have on patients:


“I promise I'm not trying to be a difficult patient but when time and time again trans people are pushed to the side or forgotten about or told to just shrug it off it gets frustrating. I promise we're not bad people we just want to see ourselves in places that cis people see themselves all the time. And we too deserve to have kids and be parents.”



How can we do better?

According to the ASRM Ethics Committee, it is the “ethical duty to treat persons with equal respect,” and “services provided by fertility clinics should be consistent across patients irrespective of marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.” If patients don’t feel supported, they may opt to discontinue treatment or switch to a practice where they feel better supported. 


“The small shift in language really doesn’t cost us anything. And yet, it will earn healthcare providers so much currency in patient trust, which translates to better outcomes.”Kodiak Soled, MSN, RN 


Patients' experiences can be significantly impacted by straightforward changes from all parties involved in the patient journey, from EMRs to patient education providers to clinics themselves. Patients, regardless of their background or circumstances, are looking for:

  • The most medically accurate information that is  easily digestible
  • Treatment as an individual in a unique situation 
  • Cultural awareness, compassion, humility, and understanding
  • The best outcome possible

Our job is to partner with patients throughout their care, starting with making them feel comfortable, included, and cared for. 

How EngagedMD is working towards inclusivity

At EngagedMD, one of our core values is integrity, which we live out by choosing to “Do the Right Thing.” Another is growth – we’re eager to learn and evolve to improve our offerings and help clinics provide exceptional patient experiences. 

Last year, with both values in mind, we began a project to audit and update our content to be more inclusive. We partnered with fertility inclusivity expert Trystan Reese and his team at Collaborate Consulting to review our content with a lens of racial justice and LGBTQ+ inclusion. As always, we developed this content with medical accuracy at the forefront. 

We’re excited to present our first release from this project: a completely updated version of our flagship IVF module. This version of the module uses new language and a new library of animated characters that reflect a more comprehensive range of patient experiences, inclusive of gender, sexual orientation, racial and ethnic identity, age, anatomy, and disabilities. Hear from our Director of Content, Nathan Porteshawver, about the updated module: 


HubSpot Video



Get access to the new IVF module

Sticker graphics (2)Want to watch the latest version of EngagedMD’s IVF module and get access for your patients?

  • If you use EngagedMD today, please reach out to your clinic's EngagedMD Customer Success Manager for assistance.
  • If you don’t use EngagedMD, please get in touch with us for more information. 


At EngagedMD, we are dedicated to continuous improvement, and this is just the beginning of a review and update of all our content—so expect more to come. In the meantime, if you have ideas about how we can make our content more inclusive, please let us know.


More tips: How to make your consents more inclusive 

Are you looking for other ways to be more inclusive? A few changes to your consent forms can make a world of difference to your patients. Our professional services team routinely works with clinics to optimize consenting workflows. A few of their tips are:

  • Review your consent forms for gender assumptions like “female/male” or “wife/husband.” Consider replacing those terms with “primary patient” and “secondary patient,” or “partner.” 
  • If you require patients or partners to indicate their gender, ensure  to provide inclusive options, such as “female,” “male,” “non-binary,” or “other.”
  • Consider creating consents specific to single patients, and omit fields typically reserved for a partner.



Additional inclusivity resources: 
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