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Arch Intern Med. 2009 Jan 12;169(1):68-74. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2008.517.

Motivating factors for physician ordering of factor V Leiden genetic tests.

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Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.



The factor V Leiden (FVL) genetic test is used by many physicians despite its uncertain clinical utility.


We investigate whether self-reported motivations and behaviors concerning FVL genetic testing differ between 2 groups of primary care physicians defined by frequency of previous FVL test use. In January 2007, 112 physicians (60 frequent and 52 infrequent FVL test users) at Group Health, a large health care delivery system, were surveyed. Survey content areas included primary reasons and motivating factors for ordering the FVL test, the likelihood of ordering the FVL test for hypothetical patients, potential barriers to genetic testing, and practices and skills regarding FVL test ordering.


Responses between groups agreed concerning most clinical- and patient-related factors. Frequent-FVL physicians were more likely than infrequent-FVL physicians to report ordering the FVL test for hypothetical patients with mesenteric venous thrombosis (adjusted odds ratio, 4.57; 95% confidence interval, 1.55-13.53) or venous thrombosis after hospital discharge (adjusted odds ratio, 3.42; 95% confidence interval, 1.30-8.95). Frequent-FVL physicians were also less likely to identify several items on the survey as barriers to genetic testing and were more likely to report high confidence in interpreting and explaining FVL test results.


Generally, both physician groups reported similar motivating factors for ordering FVL tests, and reported behaviors were consistent with existing guidelines. More striking differences were observed for measures such as barriers to and confidence in using genetic tests. Although additional research is necessary to evaluate the impact of these results, they inform several knowledge-to-practice translation issues that are important for the successful integration of genetic testing into primary care.

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