People in need of information and support to deal with their fertility problems are getting help through a new app that is being tested by researchers at the Lady Davis Institute (LDI) of the Jewish General Hospital.
The Infotility app for men and women was introduced in fall 2018 and is now being tested by 150 research participants over an eight-week period. They will then provide feedback to the researchers, based on their experiences.
Apps provide support, reliable information
“Increasingly, people are using smartphones and apps to obtain health information,” says Dr. Phyllis Zelkowitz, Director of Research in the Department of Psychiatry, and Senior Investigator at the LDI. “This is particularly true of people aged 18 to 49, who prefer to access the internet via smartphone. Since people with fertility concerns fall into this age range, we thought an app would be a good way to provide information and support.
“Research also shows that men are less likely than women to seek medical advice for their health problems, and may prefer the 24/7 accessibility and anonymity of information-seeking online.”
People can connect with others who are experiencing similar difficulties, and they can acquire information about genetic testing, the causes of infertility, diagnoses and treatment options. Peer support is also available. The app has a glossary of medical terms on the subject of infertility, and all the content has been vetted by experts.
Dawning of a healthcare revolution?
“This app is a perfect example of how digital health is slowly revolutionizing the way users gain access to healthcare information and services,” says Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg, President and CEO of CIUSSS West-Central Montreal. “We are striving to be at the forefront of digital health, while bearing in mind that our digital tools are ultimately meant to complement the personal, human touch in the care that our network provides.”
Another app, geared specifically to men, is also in the works. It is designed for those undergoing fertility treatment with their partners, men whose cancer diagnosis and treatment may affect their fertility, and men who would generally like to be better informed about their reproductive health.
It’s hoped that both apps will be available to the public at large in the near future.