(October 7, 2015) A report published in JAMA Oncology shows that most commercially insured women who underwent BRCA genetic testing did not receive genetic counseling by trained genetics professionals. Lack of clinician recommendation was the most commonly reported reason why they didn’t receive genetic counseling.
The study authors examined the factors associated with use of BRCA testing, assessed whether delivery of genetic counseling and testing services adheres to professional guidelines, and measured the impact on patient reported outcomes.
Researchers found that “despite improved patient knowledge, understanding, and satisfaction among patients who receive genetic counseling provided by a genetics clinician, as well as multiple guidelines emphasizing the importance of genetic counseling, most US women undergoing BRCA genetic testing do not receive this clinical service. Lack of physician recommendation is the most commonly reported reason. These findings demonstrate important gaps in clinical genetics services. Recently mandated coverage of genetic counseling services as a preventive service without patient cost sharing should contribute to improving clinical genetics services and associated outcomes in the future.”