New 'hybrid' approach to DNA testing mixes direct-to-consumer, clinical care models: 4 notes

Startups are working to overcome clinical concerns with direct-to-consumer genetic testing, according to Business Insider.

Four notes:

1. There are two main ways to access genetic testing — an expensive, complete test through a physician, and a cheaper, but less comprehensive direct-to-consumer test, such as those sold by 23andMe. Physicians have criticized the direct-to-consumer approach, arguing that patients should work with clinicians or genetic counselors to interpret these test results

2. Recently, startups have begun considering a new "hybrid" approach that combines the benefits of comprehensive testing through a physician with the convenience of at-home procedures. Companies like Color Genomics and Invitae, for example, allow consumers to order a genetic test through a physician or genetic counselor, who can help the customer interpret the results remotely.

3. Invitae, which launched five years ago, focuses on diagnostic genetic testing for conditions such as cancer, heart disease and rare disorders. It initially sold its services to physicians and genetic counselors, who would order the tests on behalf of patients. The Invitae team plans to expand its service this summer, by allowing patients to order a genetic test through a clinician online.

4. Invitae CEO Sean George announced the patient-facing service at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, which took place Jan. 7-10 in San Francisco. "[In] 2019, [we] will focus on removing the barriers of access to [genetic] information and providing support for that individual every step of the way," he said during a presentation.

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