About 12% of women who are of childbearing age in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant.
"We are seeing as women are delaying childbearing and moving forward with careers earlier infertility rates increase," said Dr.Staci Niemoth, Medical Director for Women's Health at CoxHealth.
In the past CoxHealth patients with infertility issues would be refereed to specialists in Saint Louis, Kansas City or Columbia. That's about to change with the introduction of a new telemedicine clinic.
"It's a partnership between CoxHealth and Washington University, their department of reproductive endocrinology and infertility, to offer infertility services to women here in Springfield," said Niemoth.
Now, women needing advanced infertility services can meet with specialists for an online consultation using webcams.
"They'll have their initial consultation appointment here at CoxHealth via telemedicine. Any lab work, ultrasounds, or other testing that needs to be done as part of their pre-treatment work up can be done here locally," said Niemoth.
"So for one round of IBF we would be saving a patient anywhere from three to six trips back and fourth," Niemoth explained.
Not only will these online visits save patients hours in drive time, but they'll also help save them hundreds of dollars in related medical expenses. CoxHealth physicians say telemedicine options will continue to expand in the future.
"Telemedicine offers a wide range of opportunities for both patients and providers," said Niemoth.
"It offers access to services or specialties that may not be available in a given area. It also offers the ability for patients to have an appointment with a physician from their home, or from work, or school so travel time isn't a factor. It's just more convenient," she explained.
The service will begin on April 8. To schedule an appointment call 314-286-2400 or contact your primary physician.