A Model for Genome-First Care: Returning Secondary Genomic Findings to Participants and Their Healthcare Providers in a Large Research Cohort

Am J Hum Genet. 2018 Sep 6;103(3):328-337. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.07.009. Epub 2018 Aug 9.


There is growing interest in communicating clinically relevant DNA sequence findings to research participants who join projects with a primary research goal other than the clinical return of such results. Since Geisinger's MyCode Community Health Initiative (MyCode) was launched in 2007, more than 200,000 participants have been broadly consented for discovery research. In 2013 the MyCode consent was amended to include a secondary analysis of research genomic sequences that allows for delivery of clinical results. Since May 2015, pathogenic and likely pathogenic variants from a set list of genes associated with monogenic conditions have prompted "genome-first" clinical encounters. The encounters are described as genome-first because they are identified independent of any clinical parameters. This article (1) details our process for generating clinical results from research data, delivering results to participants and providers, facilitating condition-specific clinical evaluations, and promoting cascade testing of relatives, and (2) summarizes early results and participant uptake. We report on 542 participants who had results uploaded to the electronic health record as of February 1, 2018 and 291 unique clinical providers notified with one or more participant results. Of these 542 participants, 515 (95.0%) were reached to disclose their results and 27 (5.0%) were lost to follow-up. We describe an exportable model for delivery of clinical care through secondary use of research data. In addition, subject and provider participation data from the initial phase of these efforts can inform other institutions planning similar programs.

Keywords: care delivery; genetics; genomics; incidental findings; learning healthcare system; population screening; public health; research results; secondary findings; whole-exome sequencing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Genome, Human / genetics*
  • Genomics / methods
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods