Patient-centered care in Israeli IVF units: Divergent perceptions of patients and providers

Tamar R. Medina-Artom*, Eli Y. Adashi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Patient-centered care is particularly important for patients undergoing fertility treatment because of their emotional involvement and their constant contact with providers. To the best of our knowledge, to date, there have been no rigorous studies of the discrepancies between the patients' perceptions of the care they received and the providers' perceptions of the care that they provided, in specific dimensions and elements of patient-centered care. Objective: To compare provider and patient perceptions of the extent to which care in Israeli IVF units is patient-centered. Methods: A previously validated survey instrument was used to assess the patient and provider perceptions of ten dimensions of patient-centered care: accessibility of providers, provision of information and of explanations, communication skills of providers, patient involvement in the treatment, respect for patient values and needs, continuity and transition in treatment, professional competence, care organization, physical comfort, and emotional support. The patient survey and the provider survey were conducted in 2016-2017; both surveys were carried out in 8 of 25 hospital-based IVF units in Israel. Seventy-six providers and 524 patients (response rate 79%) participated in the surveys. Findings: The perceptions of patients and providers were similar regarding seven of the ten dimensions of patient-centered care, although there were some differences in patient vs. provider scores by unit. There were three dimensions with substantial provider-patient score differences: Moderate-sized gaps were found relative to the provision of information and explanations (1.96 vs. 2.38, on a 0-3 scale) and respect for patient values and needs (1.92 vs. 2.47). A large gap was observed relative to emotional support (0.96 vs. 2.54). Conclusions: Providers appear to underestimate the needs of fertility treatment patients for information, respect, and emotional support. The observed differences between what patients feel about their care and what providers assume they provide, especially regarding emotional support, indicates a need for ongoing, specific feedback to providers as to the patient-centeredness of the care they provide. The particularly large patient - provider gap relative to the provision of emotional support highlights the importance of increasing the attention paid to the psychological impact of fertility treatment and of giving patients an opportunity to consult a counselor who is familiar with problems associated with fertility treatments. Policy recommendations: Efforts to improve the patient-centeredness in FT should begin by establishing a national ongoing feedback mechanism, involving all 25 IVF units operating in Israel working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. The findings from this joint effort should be shared with the public. In addition, we recommended appointing one professional in each IVF unit to be in charge of promoting improvements in the patient-centered care for that unit. Assigning a mental health professional (psychologist or social worker) to each and every IVF unit is also of crucial importance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number39
JournalIsrael Journal of Health Policy Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 6 Aug 2020


  • Emotional support
  • Fertility treatments
  • IVF
  • Patient perceptions
  • Patient wellbeing
  • Patient-centered care
  • Provider perceptions


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