Given the significant growth in genomics as a critical component of today’s medical/pharmacy care, genomics and genetic counselors are becoming increasingly important to healthcare executives.
“Genetic testing and genetic risk information play an important role in today’s healthcare environment when used appropriately and interpreted correctly,” says Tricia See, ScM, CGC, InformedDNA, the nation’s largest independent provider of genetics services, headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida.
“However, due to continued and explosive growth in genetic testing, many providers and payers lack the expertise to understand the most appropriate use of these tests. Genetic counselors provide that expertise, which enables appropriate test choices by ordering providers, and informed decision making for patients. Genetic counselors can provide expert genetics guidance surrounding the appropriate use of genetic testing—getting the right test to the right patient at the right time. Inappropriate use of genetic testing can not only escalate healthcare costs but also lead to patient and provider misinformation and confusion.”
Genetic counselors play a critical role in today’s healthcare arena by serving as genetic liaisons for patients and providers. According to See, they translate complex genetic concepts and information into meaningful language, which can then be incorporated into personalized care.
“This is important not just for persons with rare single gene disorders but all persons who seek to learn more about their genetic information and risk for disease,” she says. “I see genetic counselors as an important part of the care team for patients throughout the healthcare journey—from prenatal care to adulthood. Given the availability of remote and telephone-based genetic counseling options, access to genetic counselors is available for all patients and providers, not just those in specialty academic medicine centers or major metropolitan areas.”
In addition, according to See, the availability of direct-to-consumer genetic testing is rapidly increasing.
Patients are interested in their genetic data and have the ability, often at low cost, to pursue this interest.