Physicians offer patients little insight on their genomic testing results

Most patients who pay for direct-to-consumer genomic testing want to discuss their results with their physicians, but few follow through. And of those that do, less than 1 in 5 are satisfied with what their physicians have to say, according to new research.

Researchers followed 1,249 patients who used 23andMe's testing services and 589 who used Pathway Genomics' test. More patients said they planned to share the findings with their physicians than actually did after receiving the results, which study authors suggest could be due to an initial overestimation of the importance and actionability of genomic testing data.

However, most patients still said the decision to obtain direct-to-consumer genomic testing was valuable. Some attitudes about the testing was impacted by physician follow-ups, such as patients views on whether results could be used to improve health or their concerns about adding genomic data to EHRs.

"In summary, to our knowledge, we have presented the first comprehensive picture of [direct-to-consumer personalized genome testing] consumers who report sharing their results with a provider, including consumer descriptions of these encounters," the authors wrote. "Our results suggest that a minority of consumers share their results with a provider, most are satisfied with the provider's discussion of results and both of these outcomes may be related to a consumer's perception that their results can potentially affect their care."

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