Primary Care Physicians' Knowledge, Attitudes, and Experience with Personal Genetic Testing

J Pers Med. 2019 May 24;9(2):29. doi: 10.3390/jpm9020029.


Primary care providers (PCPs) will play an important role in precision medicine. However, their lack of training and knowledge about genetics and genomics may limit their ability to advise patients or interpret or utilize test results. We evaluated PCPs' awareness of the role of genetics/genomics in health, knowledge about key concepts in genomic medicine, perception/attitudes towards direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing, and their level of confidence/comfort in discussing testing with patients prior to and after undergoing DTC testing through the 23andMe Health + Ancestry Service. A total of 130 PCPs completed the study. Sixty-three percent were board-certified in family practice, 32% graduated between 1991 and 2000, and 88% had heard of 23andMe prior to the study. Seventy-two percent decided to participate in the study to gain a better understanding about testing. At baseline, 23% of respondents indicated comfort discussing genetics as a risk factor for common diseases, increasing to 59% after undergoing personal genetic testing (PGT) (p < 0.01). In summary, we find that undergoing PGT augments physicians' confidence, comfort, and interest in DTC testing.

Keywords: education; genomics; primary care.