Factors which impact the delivery of genetic risk assessment services focused on inherited cancer genomics: expanding the role and reach of certified genetics professionals

J Genet Couns. 2014 Aug;23(4):522-30. doi: 10.1007/s10897-013-9668-1. Epub 2013 Dec 4.


There is tremendous excitement about the promise of new genomic technologies to transform medical practice and improve patient care. Although the full power of genetic diagnosis has not yet been realized, paradigms of clinical decision-making are changing. In fact, recent policy level changes to promote genetic counseling by certified genetics professionals (GP) such as genetic counselors and clinical geneticists, are occurring at both the payer and state level. However, there remain opportunities to develop policies within the United States to: 1) enhance the access to the limited workforce of GPs; 2) revise reimbursement schemes such that costs to deliver these services may be recouped by institutions with GPs; and 3) protect against the potential for discrimination based on genetic information. Although many of these issues predate advances in genomic technologies, they are exacerbated by them, with increasing access and awareness as costs of testing decrease. Consequently, evolving shifts in national policies poise GPs to serve as a hub of information and may be instrumental in facilitating new models to deliver genetics-based care through promoting academic-community partnerships and interfacing with non-GPs. As we acknowledge the potential for genomics to revolutionize medical practice, the expertise of GPs may be leveraged to facilitate incorporation of this information into mainstream medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Genetic Counseling*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Professional Role*
  • Risk Assessment