ReproMED - researching the use of the internet in reproductive medicine
20 December 2004
About one in six couples seeks specialist help because of a difficulty in conceiving. Since 1995 ReproMED has pioneered use of the internet to support a range of initiatives in the field of reproductive medicine.
ReproMED’s website (http://www.repromed.org.uk/) initially provided information for professionals working in reproductive medicine. However, it became increasingly apparent that there was also a need for authoritative information for infertile couples. Thus, in January 1999, a website was launched specifically for patients (www.ReproMED.co.uk). Subsequent research into patients’ requirements and preferences through questionnaires, focus groups and server log files has shaped the development of this website, such as the addition in July 2003 of a discussion forum (www.ReproMED.co.uk/forum).
In the forum couples can discuss treatments and feelings with other couples. The comments are displayed on web pages to which replies may be posted. A survey revealed that most patients attending the University’s Centre for Reproductive Medicine in 2004 had visited the ReproMED site and that the majority felt that online support was useful. The number using it has now increased to over 450 patients, with specific forums being added in response to patient requests. Other features offered on this part of the site include a fertility calculator and links to support groups.
ReproMED has also researched use of the internet to support distance learning for training junior doctors, leading to a prize-winning educational website (www.swot.org.uk). In addition, it provides a range of educational programmes using workshops integrated with distance learning delivered over the internet for hospital doctors, general practitioners and scientists. In 2001 this led to
the launch of a highly successful MSc course in Reproduction and Development taught principally over the internet, attracting students from all over the world (www.ReD-MSc.org.uk).
ReproMED is based in the University’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology