Great expectations: patient perspectives and anticipated utility of non-diagnostic genomic-sequencing results

J Community Genet. 2018 Jan;9(1):19-26. doi: 10.1007/s12687-017-0314-8. Epub 2017 Jun 27.


The management of secondary findings is a challenge to health-care providers relaying clinical genomic-sequencing results to patients. Understanding patients' expectations from non-diagnostic genomic sequencing could help guide this management. This study interviewed 14 individuals enrolled in the eMERGE (Electronic Medical Records and Genomics) study. Participants in eMERGE consent to undergo non-diagnostic genomic sequencing, receive results, and have results returned to their physicians. The interviews assessed expectations and intended use of results. The majority of interviewees were male (64%) and 43% identified as non-Caucasian. A unique theme identified was that many participants expressed uncertainty about the type of diseases they expected to receive results on, what results they wanted to learn about, and how they intended to use results. Participant uncertainty highlights the complex nature of deciding to undergo genomic testing and a deficiency in genomic knowledge. These results could help improve how genomic sequencing and secondary findings are discussed with patients.

Keywords: Genetic counseling; Genomic sequencing; Patient perspectives; Perceived utility; Precision medicine.