Models of service delivery for cancer genetic risk assessment and counseling

J Genet Couns. 2014 Apr;23(2):239-53. doi: 10.1007/s10897-013-9655-6. Epub 2013 Oct 26.


Increasing awareness of and the potentially concomitant increasing demand for cancer genetic services is driving the need to explore more efficient models of service delivery. The aims of this study were to determine which service delivery models are most commonly used by genetic counselors, assess how often they are used, compare the efficiency of each model as well as impact on access to services, and investigate the perceived benefits and barriers of each. Full members of the NSGC Familial Cancer Special Interest Group who subscribe to its listserv were invited to participate in a web-based survey. Eligible respondents were asked which of ten defined service delivery models they use and specific questions related to aspects of model use. One-hundred ninety-two of the approximately 450 members of the listserv responded (42.7%); 177 (92.2%) had provided clinical service in the last year and were eligible to complete all sections of the survey. The four direct care models most commonly used were the (traditional) face-to-face pre- and post-test model (92.2%), the face-to-face pretest without face-to-face post-test model (86.5%), the post-test counseling only for complex results model (36.2%), and the post test counseling for all results model (18.3%). Those using the face-to-face pretest only, post-test all, and post-test complex models reported seeing more new patients than when they used the traditional model and these differences were statistically significantly. There were no significant differences in appointment wait times or distances traveled by patients when comparing use of the traditional model to the other three models. Respondents recognize that a benefit of using alternative service delivery models is increased access to services; however, some are concerned that this may affect quality of care.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Counseling*
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Young Adult