Role and practice evolution for genetic counseling in the genomic era: The experience of Australian and UK genetics practitioners
Abstract Facilitating informed decision-making regarding genetic testing is a core component of genetic counseling practice. Internationally, genetic testing is shifting toward gene panels and genomic testing, including whole exome and whole genome sequencing to improve diagnostic yield and cost-effectiveness. This study explored genetics practitioners’ current experience with panels and genomic tests and the associated evolution of genetic counseling practice. Genetics practitioners with genomic testing experience, were purposively invited to participate in a semi-structured telephone interview and to snowball the invitation to colleagues. Interviews conducted with participants residing in Australia (n = 9) and the UK (n = 5) were transcribed and analyzed using an inductive thematic approach. Three themes emerged: (a) Role delineation: current roles, future roles, and the influence of increasing complexity; (b) The evolving spectrum of practice: blurred boundaries between research and clinical services; impact on facilitation of informed consent; and return of results strategies; and (c) Policy and governance needs: equality of access; achieving consistent variant interpretation, reporting, and responsibility for review; managing incidental findings; and professional regulation for Australian genetic counselors. These exploratory data highlight that genetic counseling practice and the essential role of facilitating informed consent are evolving but remain patient-centered, with core skills underpinning practitioners’ capacity to adapt.
|Authors||Dwarte T, Barlow-Stewart K, O'Shea R, Dinger ME, Terrill B.|
|Responsible Garvan Author|
|Publisher Name||Journal of Genetic Counseling|
|URL link to publisher's version||https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jgc4.1053|
|OpenAccess link to author's accepted manuscript version||https://publications.gimr.garvan.org.au/open-access/14881|