Eliciting preferences on secondary findings: the Preferences Instrument for Genomic Secondary Results

Genet Med. 2017 Mar;19(3):337-344. doi: 10.1038/gim.2016.110. Epub 2016 Aug 25.


Purpose: Eliciting and understanding patient and research participant preferences regarding return of secondary test results are key aspects of genomic medicine. A valid instrument should be easily understood without extensive pretest counseling while still faithfully eliciting patients' preferences.

Methods: We conducted focus groups with 110 adults to understand patient perspectives on secondary genomic findings and the role that preferences should play. We then developed and refined a draft instrument and used it to elicit preferences from parents participating in a genomic sequencing study in children with intellectual disabilities.

Results: Patients preferred filtering of secondary genomic results to avoid information overload and to avoid learning what the future holds, among other reasons. Patients preferred to make autonomous choices about which categories of results to receive and to have their choices applied automatically before results are returned to them and their clinicians. The Preferences Instrument for Genomic Secondary Results (PIGSR) is designed to be completed by patients or research participants without assistance and to guide bioinformatic analysis of genomic raw data. Most participants wanted to receive all secondary results, but a significant minority indicated other preferences.

Conclusions: Our novel instrument-PIGSR-should be useful in a wide variety of clinical and research settings.Genet Med 19 3, 337-344.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Choice Behavior
  • Comprehension
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Genetic Testing / ethics
  • Genetic Testing / instrumentation
  • Genetic Testing / methods*
  • Genome / ethics
  • Genome / genetics
  • Genomics / ethics
  • Genomics / methods
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Incidental Findings
  • Intellectual Disability / genetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parents / psychology
  • Patient Preference / psychology
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Surveys and Questionnaires