09 May Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Tests: Great for Patients, Tough on Doctors
When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced in April that it would let 23andMe market its Personal Genome Service Genetic Health Risk tests directly to consumers, it was seen as a victory for consumers to be more proactive in their healthcare and lifestyles.
Indeed the tests would assess the patient’s likelihood of inheriting 10 different diseases, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
But there’s one major problem.
“The healthcare industry is in no way prepared to deal with the consumer piece of precision medicine,” said Allscripts 2bPrecise Chief Medical Officer Joel Diamond.
Consumer-driven tests are a boon of the healthcare industry, Diamond said. Patients are being handed in-depth, genetic workups, but they don’t know what to do with the information.
For example, certain markers appear in genetic tests, but a patient may have no family history or symptoms. These patients want to understand why it’s significant — but many general providers don’t know what to do with the information.