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    Cost-effective workup of the infertile male patient

    Thorough history/physical, high-quality semen analyses among critical components

     

    The future

    One fascinating vehicle for providing cost-effective care of infertile couples is an integrated practice unit, or IPU. The concept of an IPU was developed by Michael Porter, PhD, MBA, of Harvard Business School and Thomas Lee, MD, MSc, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston. The IPU “is organized around a medical condition or a set of closely related conditions (or around defined patient segments for primary care),” in which “care is delivered by a dedicated, multidisciplinary team of clinicians who devote a significant portion of their time to the medical condition,” according to an October 2013 Harvard Business Review article by Dr. Porter and Dr. Lee.

    The IPU is designed to increase value for patients by improving quality and service while driving down costs. We are in the process of creating such an IPU at the University of Utah. Essentially, all services for reproductive couples, including urology, pharmacy, and reproductive endocrinology, share a financial bottom line and organizational structure so that they can optimize care for infertile couples. We are early in this process, but have found that it has great potential to optimize cost-effective care for these couples.

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