In the February, 2019 issue of the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, an article entitled “Genetic Service Delivery Models,” analyzed the delivery of genetic counseling services.  It found the availability and delivery of genetic counseling have room for improvement.

When genetic counseling services are provided by credentialed genetics professionals, there is greater adherence to evidence-based guidelines for care, more detailed education about the meaning and interpretation of results, better coordinated care for other family members at risk, and cost savings from appropriate ordering of testing.

Genetic counseling begins with the identification of patients and families at risk for developing cancer because of hereditary susceptibility.  But identification is only half the battle.  Unfortunately, there are barriers to the transition from identification of the need to actually connecting the patient with a counselor.

A report by the American Society of Clinical Oncology ([ASCO], 2017) found that only 24% of oncology practices have at least one genetic counselor on site.  The balance refer patients to genetic professionals or academic institutions, or do not use genetic counselors at all.  Although credentialed genetic professionals exist in all 50 states in the United States, rural areas are proportionately under-served and concerns have also been raised that the existing number of genetics professionals is insufficient to meet demands.

The article concluded additional professionals need to be trained to meet demand, and alternative delivery models  can be used to increase access and better distribute the services.  Genetic counseling via the use of videoconferencing technology, often referred to as  Telegenetics, is an effective way to avoid travel and appointment delays for the patient in need of counseling.

CarePathConnect is a network of clinical genetic counselors and healthcare providers established by Family Care Path.

CarePathConnect providers consult with their patients via a HIPAA-compliant video streaming platform which ensures that medical information remains safe and secure. The simple interface is available from any mobile device, tablet or computer with internet access allowing service to be conveniently rendered and received from the comfort of home or office.

The goal of CarePathConnect is to reduce existing barriers to the provision of genetic counseling services.  Patients with suspected hereditary risk for cancer need the genetic counseling component for preventive care.  When information gleaned from genetic risk assessment and testing is used appropriately, patient outcomes related to malignancy are improved.

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