Physicians' preparedness for integration of genomic and pharmacogenetic testing into practice within a major healthcare system

Genet Test Mol Biomarkers. 2013 Mar;17(3):219-25. doi: 10.1089/gtmb.2012.0165. Epub 2013 Feb 7.


Purpose: Physicians will play a large role in the delivery of genomic medicine, given the limited number of trained genetics professionals. The objective of this study was to assess physician preparedness for incorporating genomic testing (GT) and pharmacogenetic testing (PT) into practice by determining knowledge, experience, comfort level, and barriers, as well as their expectations for practice and educational needs.

Methods: A 30-question survey was distributed to physicians spanning all disciplines within our healthcare system.

Results: Perceived knowledge was poor; 40%-72% reported "no to minimal knowledge" for all genomics topics. Recent graduates or those with no patients who had undergone GT or PT had lower comfort levels. Participating physicians anticipate usage to increase; however, most were uncertain when and how to incorporate genomics into practice. Physicians perceived lack of knowledge and time to keep updated as their greatest barriers to incorporating GT and PT into practice.

Conclusion: Overall, physicians appear underprepared, perceiving they lack sufficient knowledge and confidence to incorporate GT and PT into practice. The majority of physicians expect their role in GT and PT to increase. The results underscore the importance of enhancing policies and initiatives to increase physician knowledge and comfort level.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chicago
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Genetic Testing*
  • Genomics*
  • Humans
  • Pharmacogenetics*
  • Physicians*