Patient understanding of, satisfaction with, and perceived utility of whole-genome sequencing: findings from the MedSeq Project

Genet Med. 2018 Sep;20(9):1069-1076. doi: 10.1038/gim.2017.223. Epub 2018 Jan 4.


Purpose: To examine patients' experiences with clinical use of whole-genome sequencing (WGS).

Methods: A randomized trial compared primary care and cardiology patients receiving WGS and family health history (FH) information or FH information alone. 202 patients were surveyed before (BL) and up to 6 months after disclosure of results (6M).

Results: Patients (mean age = 55 years; 50% female; 81% college graduates) reported low levels of decisional regret (mean: 7.1/100) and high satisfaction with physicians' disclosure of results (median: 29/30). Compared with the FH-only arm, patients receiving WGS results were more likely to report learning accurate disease risk information (odds ratio = 7.45) and findings influential for medical treatment (odds ratio = 2.39). Sessions where WGS results were disclosed took longer (30 vs. 15 minutes), particularly for primary care patients. Patients' expected utility of sequencing at BL was higher than perceived utility at 6M in several domains, including impacting medical decision making (87% vs. 54%) and influencing medication choice (73% vs. 32%).

Conclusion: Patients were satisfied with their physicians' communication of WGS results and perceived them as medically useful. Discrepancies in expected versus perceived utility of WGS results suggest a need to temper patients' expectations about its potential benefits.

Keywords: cardiology; informed consent; patient education; patient satisfaction; primary care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health
  • Communication
  • Comprehension
  • Decision Making
  • Disclosure
  • Female
  • Genome, Human
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical History Taking
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Perception
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Whole Genome Sequencing / economics*
  • Whole Genome Sequencing / ethics*
  • Whole Genome Sequencing / trends