Primary care physicians' utilization and perceptions of genetics services

Genet Med. 1998 Nov-Dec;1(1):13-21. doi: 10.1097/00125817-199811000-00005.


Purpose: To document primary care physicians' utilization and perceptions of genetics services.

Methods: A randomized survey of physicians in the Pacific Northwest.

Results: The greatest factor prompting a genetics referral was the patient's interest in the evaluation, and the most common reason not to obtain a consultation was the perception that it was of no benefit to the patient. Genetics consultation was rarely sought for a family history of cancer or for deafness, polycystic kidney disease, or congenital heart disease. Even when uncertain about relative risk, physicians usually counseled a patient themselves rather than referring to a specialist.

Conclusion: Primary care physicians need more education about the genetic component of many diseases to provide directly and to refer appropriately for genetics services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Data Collection
  • Genetics, Medical*
  • Northwestern United States
  • Perception*
  • Physicians, Family / psychology*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Workforce