Challenges in genetic testing: clinician variant interpretation processes and the impact on clinical care.
PURPOSE: Efforts have been made to standardize laboratory variant interpretation, but clinicians are ultimately tasked with clinical correlation and application of genetic test results in patient care. This study aimed to explore processes clinicians utilize when reviewing and returning genetic test results, and how they impact patient care.
METHODS: Medical geneticists, genetic counselors, and nongenetics clinicians from two Midwestern states completed surveys (n = 98) and in-depth interviews (n = 29) on practices of reviewing and returning genetic test results. Retrospective chart review (n = 130) examined discordant interpretations and the impact on care.
RESULTS: Participants reported variable behaviors in both reviewing and returning results based on factors such as confidence, view of role, practice setting, and relationship with the lab. Providers did not report requesting changes to variant classifications from laboratories, but indicated relaying conflicting classifications to patients in some cases. Chart reviews revealed medically impactful differences in interpretation between laboratories and clinicians in 18 (13.8%) records.
CONCLUSION: Clinician practices for reviewing and integrating genetic test results into patient care vary within and between specialties and impact patient care. Strategies to better incorporate both laboratory and clinician expertise into interpretation of genetic results could result in improved care across providers and settings.
Genetics in medicine : official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics
Berrios C, Hurley EA, Willig L, et al. Challenges in genetic testing: clinician variant interpretation processes and the impact on clinical care. Genet Med. 2021;23(12):2289-2299. doi:10.1038/s41436-021-01267-x