Viewpoint: Doctors need better training if DNA sequencing becomes standard care

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[Recently] the CEO of Pennsylvania health care provider Geisinger announced that its doctors will now offer patients DNA sequencing “as part of routine preventative care.” Right now, most doctors offer genetic screening only when they suspect something is wrong, but the move suggests that soon, DNA tests could become a normal part of our checkups.

There is a truly overwhelming number of genetic tests that doctors can order: 75,000 on the market, and 10 new ones entering the market every day, according to a recent study.

Meanwhile, a study of primary care providers in New York showed that only 14 percent of them were comfortable interpreting these results.

As major health care providers adopt routine genetic screening, they need to train their doctors to understand which tests to pick, how they work, and how to interpret the results. Otherwise, overwhelmed doctors may order the wrong test, or they may misinterpret the result — confusing patients and potentially leading to wrong diagnoses or false positives.

Related article:  Video: Even if you’ve never taken a DNA test ‘your genetic privacy might already be compromised’

There’s a second part of training, too. It’s not enough that doctors understand the benefits of the different tests and feel confident sharing the information. They need to be trained to make sure patients understand the pros and cons of getting their DNA sequenced.

Read full, original post: If doctors are going to do DNA tests at routine checkups, they need more training

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