Making Fertility Clinic Success Rates Data More Accessible to Consumers
Project Name: Making Fertility Clinic Success Rates Data More Accessible to Consumers
Project Status: Proposed
Point of Contact: Allison Mneimneh
Keywords: Data Availability, Data Display, Surveillance System
Project Description: Through the National Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Surveillance System (NASS), CDC collects data from all fertility clinics in the United States and calculates standardized success rates for each clinic. This data, presented annually in a report, gives a potential user an idea of their average chances of ART success. NASS is one of the few systems within HHS, and the only one at CDC, to provide ongoing public reporting of clinical outcomes. Clinic-specific data, displayed in a complex table format, are available in a hard copy report and are posted online.
Although CDC has been successful in meeting the federal mandate (1992 Fertility Clinic Success Rates and Certification Act) for reporting fertility clinic success rates data, the data are not presented in a format that can be easily grasped by ART consumers or the general public. In addition, the field of ART is constantly changing, making public reporting of ART outcomes even more complex. Recognizing this challenge, CDC is working with HHS contractor NORC at the University of Chicago to develop and test a variety of webpage schematics for an updated, consumer-friendly, display of data on fertility clinic success rates on the www.cdc.gov/art website. NORC will provide CDC with templates for recommended website content and formatting. The proposed project would fund an existing web design contractor (Northrup Grumman) to implement NORC’s website content and formatting recommendations to create a prototype for the innovative display of data.
If successful, this project has the potential to increase the availability and usability of ART surveillance data to enable consumers to make more informed choices based on current data. The new data display will allow consumers to search for clinics within a certain locale and interactively compare each clinic’s success rates with national data. Most importantly, the new format will emphasize comparisons based on the key public health outcome of ART: having a healthy singleton baby. Consumers have traditionally focused on pregnancy success rates when selecting a clinic; however, this measure of success does not address the issue of high rates of multiple and preterm births, and resulting low birth weight infants, following ART.
The new strategy for data presentation represents a novel approach that focuses consumer attention on the healthiest outcome of ART. Once data from NASS are displayed in a consumer-friendly format based on the principles of effective public reporting, it will be possible for other national surveillance systems to follow suit so that all data for public use can be more easily grasped by an average web user. The innovative presentation of fertility clinic success rates data online will also allow CDC to save money by not printing as many hard copies of the approximately 600-page report.