Views Of Primary Care Providers On Testing Patients For Genetic Risks For Common Chronic Diseases

Health Aff (Millwood). 2018 May;37(5):793-800. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2017.1548.


We surveyed 488 primary care providers in community and academic practices in New York City in the period 2014-16 about their views on genetic testing for chronic diseases. The majority of the providers, most of whom were current or recent physicians in training, had had formal genetics education and had positive views of the utility of genetic testing. However, they felt unprepared to work with patients at high risk for genetic conditions and were not confident about interpreting test results. Many were concerned that genetic testing might lead to insurance discrimination and lacked trust in companies that offer genetic tests. These findings point to some of the attitudes and knowledge gaps among the providers that should be considered in the clinical implementation of genomic medicine for chronic conditions. Enhanced training, guidelines, clinical tools, and awareness of patient protections might support the effective adoption of genomic medicine by primary care providers.

Keywords: Chronic Disease; Disparities; Genomics; Physicians; Primary Care.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Clinical Competence
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Genetic Testing / methods
  • Genetic Testing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • New York City
  • Physicians, Primary Care*
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*