Assuring quality in assisted reproduction laboratories: assessing the performance of ART Compass — a digital art staff management platform

Carol Lynn Curchoe*, Charles Bormann, Elizabeth Hammond, Scarlett Salter, Claire Timlin, Lesley Blankenship Williams, Daniella Gilboa, Daniel Seidman, Alison Campbell, Dean Morbeck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Staff management is the most cited ART/IVF laboratory inspection deficiency. Small ART/IVF clinics may be challenged to perform these activities by low staff volume; similarly, large ART/IVF networks may be challenged by high staff volume and large datasets. Here, we sought to investigate the performance of an automated, digital platform solution to manage this necessary task. Methods: The ART Compass (ARTC) digital staff management platform was used to assess the clinical decision-making of ART laboratory staff. The survey modules presented standardized instructions to technologists and measured inter- and intra-technologist variability for subjective “clinical decision-making” type questions. Internal and external comparisons were achieved by providing technologists two answers: (1) a comparison to their own lab director and (2) to the most popular response collectively provided by all lab director level accounts. The platform is hosted on HIPAA compliant Amazon web servers, accessible via web browser and mobile applications for iOS (Apple) and Android mobile devices. Results: Here, we investigated the performance of a digital staff management platform for single embryologist IVF practices and for three IVF lab networks (sites A, B, C) from 2020 to 2022. Embryology dish preparation survey results show variance among respondents in the following: PPE use, media volume, timing of oil overlay, and timing of moving prepared dishes to incubators. Surveying the perceived Gardner score and terms in use for early blastocysts reveals a lack of standardization of terminology and fair to poor agreement. We observed moderate inter-technologist agreement for ICM and TE grade (0.47 and 0.52, respectively). Lastly, the clinical decision of choice to freeze or discard an embryo revealed that agreement to freeze was highest for the top-quality embryos, and that some embryos can be highly contested, evenly split between choice to freeze or discard. Conclusions: We conclude that a digital platform is a novel and effective tool to automate, routinely monitor, and assure quality for staff-related parameters in ART and IVF laboratories. Use of a digital platform can increase regulatory compliance and provide actionable insight for quality assurance in both single embryologist practices and for large networks. Furthermore, clinical decision-making can be augmented with artificial intelligence integration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-278
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2023
Externally publishedYes

Funding

FundersFunder number
ART Compass

    Keywords

    • Andrology
    • Assessment
    • Blastocyst development
    • Clinical decision-making
    • Competency
    • Embryo quality
    • Embryo viability
    • Embryology
    • LQMS
    • Laboratory quality management systems
    • Proficiency
    • Quality assurance
    • Standardization
    • Training

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