Genetic testing for cancer susceptibility is now an essential component of oncologic care, which increases the need for genetic counseling specialists to assist in the care of patients and their families. Testing is typically available only at large, academic facilities, leaving many providers and patients without local access to genetic counseling.
Genetic testing should always be conducted in conjunction with proper pre- and post-test counseling to contextualize the test and outline what the results may mean. As genomic applications in oncology expand, the demand for genetic expertise is increasing.
Through an NIH-funded study, Angela Bradbury, MD, and her team showed that telemedicine could be an effective way to expand genetic counseling services to populations with limited or no access to care.
Members of our team worked with the telemedicine program to translate this research into a sustainable business model at Penn Medicine.
Intervention and Impact
As research funding was nearing an end, we helped the telegenetic counseling program to develop contracts to transition remote health centers, which were part of the research program, into business-to-business clients - enabling sites to continue uninterrupted telegenetic counseling services for their patients.
Further, we helped the program implement new technology, such as charting and pedigree modeling, to increase efficiency. With the new technology in place, the team was able to increase the number of patients seen, and decrease the burden of paperwork on remote sites and patients.
December 2017: Bradbury's team has continued research efforts in parallel with their business program, incorporating discoveries in research into services for partner sites and patients across the U.S. The program currently offers remote genetic services at more than 60 research or clinical sites and has licensure assessed and covered in all 50 states.