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J Genet Couns. 2012 Jun;21(3):469-78. doi: 10.1007/s10897-011-9471-9. Epub 2011 Dec 30.

Educational needs of primary care physicians regarding direct-to-consumer genetic testing.

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  • 1Center for Biotechnology, Genomics & Health Research, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170, USA.


To assess the educational needs of North Carolina primary care physicians (PCPs) about direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing, surveys were mailed to 2,402 family and internal medicine providers in North Carolina. Out of 382 respondents, 323 (85%) felt unprepared to answer patient questions and 282 (74%) reported wanting to learn about DTC genetic testing. A total of 148 (39%) were aware of DTC genetic testing. Among these, 63 (43%) thought DTC genetic testing was clinically useful. PCPs who felt either unprepared to answer patient questions (OR = 0.354, p = 0.01) or that DTC genetic testing was clinically useful (OR = 5.783, p = 0.00) were more likely to want to learn about DTC genetic testing. PCPs are interested in learning about DTC genetic testing, but are mostly unaware of DTC testing and feel unprepared to help patients with DTC testing results. Familiar and trusted channels that provide the information and tools PCPs need to help answer patient's questions and manage their care should be used when creating educational programs.

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