Reducing day 3 baseline monitoring bloodwork and ultrasound for patients undergoing timed intercourse and intrauterine insemination treatment cycles

Fertil Res Pract. 2021 Apr 30;7(1):11. doi: 10.1186/s40738-021-00102-w.


Background: In the current context of a global pandemic it is imperative for fertility clinics to consider the necessity of individual tests and eliminate those that have limited utility and may impose unnecessary risk of exposure. The purpose of this study was to implement and evaluate a multi-modal quality improvement (QI) strategy to promote resource stewardship by reducing routine day 3 (d3) bloodwork and transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS) for patients undergoing intrauterine insemination (IUI) and timed intercourse (IC) treatment cycles.

Methods: After literature review, clinic stakeholders at an academic fertility centre met to discuss d3 testing utility and factors contributing to d3 bloodwork/TVUS in IC/IUI treatment cycles. Consensus was reached that it was unnecessary in patients taking oral/no medications. The primary intervention changed the default setting on the electronic order set to exclude d3 testing for IC/IUI cycles with oral/no medications. Exceptions required active test selection. Protocols were updated and education sessions were held. The main outcome measure was the proportion of cycles receiving d3 bloodwork/TVUS during the 8-week post-intervention period compared with the 8-week pre-intervention period. Balancing measures included provider satisfaction, pregnancy rates, and incidence of cycle cancellation.

Results: A significant reduction in the proportion of cycles receiving d3 TVUS (57.2% vs 20.8%, p < 0.001) and ≥ 1 blood test (58.6% vs 22.8%, p < 0.001) was observed post-intervention. There was no significant difference in cycle cancellation or pregnancy rates pre- and post-intervention (p = 0.86). Treatment with medications, cyst history, prescribing physician, and treatment centre were associated with receiving d3 bloodwork/TVUS. 74% of providers were satisfied with the intervention.

Conclusion: A significant reduction in IC/IUI treatment cycles that received d3 bloodwork/TVUS was achieved without measured negative treatment impacts. During a pandemic, eliminating routine d3 bloodwork/TVUS represents a safe way to reduce monitoring appointments and exposure.

Keywords: Infertility; Intrauterine insemination; Quality improvement; Resource stewardship; Timed intercourse.