The View from Both Sides of the Fertility Pharmacy Experience
How My Experience as an IVF Coordinator Showed Me the Importance of Alto’s Care Model
Why I Choose to Work in Fertility
I knew from a very young age that I wanted to work with moms and babies. My mother ran a daycare from our home throughout my childhood, and for my sixth grade report on “what I want to be when I grow up,” I interviewed a well baby RN at a local hospital. After completing my Bachelor’s degree, I started working as front desk staff at a fertility clinic and I knew immediately that I had found my spot. I could work with soon-to-be moms and new moms every day.
I quickly shifted from the front desk to being a Medical Assistant for a physician where I was able to participate in ultrasounds, retrievals and transfers. The first time I was in a pregnancy ultrasound and heard a baby’s heartbeat, I was in tears and overcome with emotion. Eventually I transitioned into the role of IVF Coordinator where I was a key part of a patient’s — and their partner’s — journey to building a family.
I really got to know my patients — in fertility, you become a trusted confidant. Their loss is your loss, and their win is your win. While you might not bring your work home physically, emotionally the job never really leaves you — IVF coordinator was the most emotionally taxing job I’ll ever have. But each time we received a positive pregnancy test, it made up for all the ups and downs.
The Fertility Pharmacy Status Quo
Alto’s model shouldn’t be so revolutionary, but it is. Clinics and patients don’t have to be okay with today’s standard pharmacy experience — Alto offers a fundamentally better model.
Fertility pharmacy plays a key role in a patient’s fertility journey. Medications need to arrive on time, in the correct assortment, with all necessary ancillary supplies. Often, the decision to change a dose or initiate a trigger shot means that medications are needed that same day or on the weekend. As an IVF coordinator, helping my patients make a decision about pharmacy was tricky — each pharmacy option offered some of the service qualities I was looking for, but no pharmacy offered all of the things I wanted for my patients. Remembering which pharmacy checked which boxes was really challenging.
It was so important to me that my patients were taken care of and receiving the highest quality of care. When they had questions, I was always available and responsive, even in the evenings and on weekends. What was most frustrating about working with fertility pharmacies was that when I’d send a prescription out, I’d have no control over the quality of the patient’s experience with the pharmacy.
For my patients, I wanted a pharmacy option that was accessible, responsive, cost conscious, and accountable for making sure nothing was getting lost or off track. For my clinic team, I wanted a pharmacy partner that didn’t require me to micromanage everything about a patient’s medications. I hated being the middle person between the patient and the pharmacy. The first time a pharmacy [Alto] came in and told me I could send any patient with any insurance to them and they would triage it, I thought, “We’ll send everything to them.”
How Alto is Different
Alto Pharmacy’s patient care model checked all those boxes. When I first heard about their same day delivery, evening and weekend hours and benefits coordination, it sounded too good to be true. Having access to a local fertility pharmacy with same day delivery was simply unheard of.
But if this was all true, it was clearly something that I wanted to be a part of. I knew from my experience as an IVF coordinator that this model served a crucial need for both patients and their care teams. I wanted to bring my knowledge and experience to help make the Alto care model even better than it already was.
What I quickly learned after joining Alto Pharmacy to help build partnerships with fertility clinics was that while same day delivery is extremely practical and necessary in fertility, it’s our patient care team that is the most standout quality. Our patient care staff have the same drive and commitment to helping build families that initially drew me to work in fertility. They genuinely care about the success of the treatment and making sure that the patients are being taken care of. This focus on the patient is unmatched in the pharmacy space — fertility pharmacy is not a truly personalized experience anywhere else but Alto.
Putting the Patient First
The patient care team consistently goes above and beyond to make sure that patients have what they need, when they need it, so that cycles aren’t interrupted. Those same-day medication changes and trigger shot decisions mean that our team is processing late notice prescriptions and frequently staying late to get deliveries out the door. Many members of our patient care team have even driven medications direct to patient’s homes so that cycles stay on track. They know how much going the extra mile is going to relieve the patient’s stress.
What I like to tell people is that we haven’t found some magical secret sauce at Alto — we didn’t create texting, or mobile apps — but pharmacy has been behind the times for so long compared to many other industries and especially within healthcare. Alto’s model shouldn’t be so revolutionary, but it is. Clinics and patients don’t have to be okay with today’s standard pharmacy experience — Alto offers a fundamentally better model.
Alto is the West Coast’s leading fertility pharmacy with more than 15,000 patients served. We’re open evenings and weekends, offer free delivery seven days a week, and will always work to help you find the best price. Interested in using Alto’s services for your fertility medications? Ask your care team to send your prescriptions to Alto or give us a call at 1 (800) 874–5881.
Tina Simon is a Fertility Partnerships Manager for Alto Pharmacy in the San Francisco Bay area.