Identification of genetic counseling service delivery models in practice: a report from the NSGC Service Delivery Model Task Force

J Genet Couns. 2013 Aug;22(4):411-21. doi: 10.1007/s10897-013-9588-0. Epub 2013 Apr 25.


Increasing demand for genetic services has resulted in the need to evaluate current service delivery models (SDMs) and consider approaches that improve access to and efficiency of genetic counseling (GC). This study aimed to describe SDMs currently used by the GC community. The NSGC membership was surveyed regarding the use of four SDMs: in-person GC, telephone GC, group GC, and telegenetics GC. Variables related to access and components of use were also surveyed, including: appointment availability, time-per-patient, number of patients seen, billing, and geographic accessiblity. Seven hundred one usable responses were received. Of these, 54.7 % reported using an in-person SDM exclusively. The remainder (45.3 %) reported using multiple SDMs. Telephone, group and telegenetics GC were used often or always by 8.0 %, 3.2 % and 2.2 % of respondents, respectively. Those using an in-person SDM reported the ability to see the highest number of patients per week (p < 0.0001) and were the most likely to bill in some manner (p < 0.0001). Those using telegenetic and telephone GC served patients who lived the furthest away, with 48.3 % and 35.8 %% respectively providing GC to patients who live >4 h away. This study shows that genetic counselors are incorporating SDMs other than traditional in-person genetic counseling, and are utilizing more than one model. These adaptations show a trend toward shorter wait time and shorter length of appointments. Further study is indicated to analyze benefits and limitations of each individual model and factors influencing the choice to adopt particular models into practice.

MeSH terms

  • Genetic Counseling*
  • Models, Organizational*