Clear Lab Reports are Crucial

Lab test reporting standards must evolve, too. Clear language in test results reports is crucially important, emphasize Drs. Robson and Harry Ostrer, MD, of the Albert Einstein School of Medicine at Yeshiva University in Bronx, NY.


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 “There’s a lot of information for patients to absorb; we’re really trying to get people from zero to 60 quite quickly,” he said. “Developing a canonical approach is a very reasonable way to go. Many patients who are receiving testing are not seeing genetic counselors, so it would be important for non-genetic counselor practitioners to have a set of guidelines they can use.”

With President Obama’s genomic medicine initiative, the federal government is promoting personalized genomic medicine and physicians will increasingly face questions about these tests and their interpretation, Dr. Ostrer says.

“There aren’t enough genetic counselors to go around, so physicians are going to have to learn how to work with testing laboratories, many of which do a great job of helping physicians get up to speed with understanding and communicating that information.”

“We’re trying to figure out the best way to do this,” Dr. Robson concluded. “Going backwards isn’t an option, but we do need to figure out how to go forward responsibly and effectively.”

References

  1. Bradbury AR, Patrick-Miller LJ, Eglestone BL, et al. Patient feedback and early outcome data with a novel tiered-binned model for multiplex breast cancer susceptibility testing. Genetics in Medicine. 2015. doi:10.1038/gim.2015.19.
  2. Domchek SM, Bradbury A, Garber JE, et al. Multiplex genetic testing for cancer susceptibility: out on the high wire without a net? Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2013;31(10):1267-1270.
  3. Robson M. Multigene panel testing: planning the next generation of research studies in clinical cancer genetics. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2014;32(19):1987-1989.
  4. Tung N, Battelli C, Allen B, et al. Frequency of mutations in individuals with breast cancer referred for BRCA1 and BRCA2 testing using next-generation sequencing with a 25-gene panel. Cancer. 2015;121(1):25-33.
  5. Hiraki S, Rinella ES, Schnabel F, Oratz R, Ostrer H. Cancer risk assessment using genetic panel testing: considerations for clinical application. Journal of Genetic Counseling. 2014;23(4):604-617.
  6. Bradbury AR, Patrick-Miller L, Long J, et al. Development of a tiered and binned genetic counseling model for informed consent in the era of multiplex testing for cancer susceptibility. Genetics in Medicine. 2014. doi:10.1038/gim.2014.134.