Genomic risk profiling: attitudes and use in personal and clinical care of primary care physicians who offer risk profiling

J Gen Intern Med. 2011 Aug;26(8):834-40. doi: 10.1007/s11606-011-1651-7. Epub 2011 Feb 11.


Background: Genomic risk profiling involves the analysis of genetic variations linked through statistical associations to a range of disease states. There is considerable controversy as to how, and even whether, to incorporate these tests into routine medical care.

Objective: To assess physician attitudes and uptake of genomic risk profiling among an 'early adopter' practice group.

Design: We surveyed members of MDVIP, a national group of primary care physicians (PCPs), currently offering genomic risk profiling as part of their practice.

Population: All physicians in the MDVIP network (N = 356)

Results: We obtained a 44% response rate. One third of respondents had ordered a test for themselves and 42% for a patient. The odds of having ordered personal testing were 10.51-fold higher for those who felt well-informed about genomic risk testing (p < 0.0001). Of those who had not ordered a test for themselves, 60% expressed concerns for patients regarding discrimination by life and long-term/disability insurers, 61% about test cost, and 62% about clinical utility. The odds of ordering testing for their patients was 8.29-fold higher among respondents who had ordered testing for themselves (p < 0.0001). Of those who had ordered testing for patients, concerns about insurance coverage (p = 0.014) and uncertain clinical utility (p = 0.034) were associated with a lower relative frequency of intention to order testing again in the future.

Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate that respondent familiarity was a key predictor of physician ordering behavior and clinical utility was a primary concern for genomic risk profiling. Educational and interpretive support may enhance uptake of genomic risk profiling.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling / statistics & numerical data*
  • Genetic Testing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Genetic Variation / genetics
  • Genomics*
  • Health Surveys / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physicians, Primary Care*
  • Primary Health Care / methods*