Organizational readiness to implement population-based screening and genetic service delivery for hereditary cancer prevention and control

J Genet Couns. 2020 Oct;29(5):867-876. doi: 10.1002/jgc4.1216. Epub 2020 Jan 22.


Despite clinical guidelines, programs conducting population-based screening and genetic service delivery for hereditary cancer prevention and control are rare in practice. We interviewed individuals (n = 13) instrumental in implementing seven unique clinical programs conducting either universal tumor screening for Lynch Syndrome or routine family history screening and provision of genetic services for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer in the United States. To characterize determinants of readiness to implement population-based cancer genetic service delivery models, interviews and deductive codes drew on Weiner's theory of organizational readiness for change. Qualitative analysis identified themes across programs. The degree to which organizational stakeholders valued moving to a population-based genetic service delivery model depended on the existence of aligned clinical guidelines at the time of program implementation. However, judgments of implementation capacity within the organization, particularly with respect to task demands and resource concerns, were more often barriers to readiness. Program champions were essential to facilitating readiness, frequently taking on substantial uncompensated work. These data suggest that developing interventions targeting change efficacy and cultivating practice change champions may be two promising ways to increase uptake of population-based hereditary cancer screening and genetic service delivery in clinical practice.

Keywords: guideline implementation; hereditary cancer syndromes; organizational readiness for change; population screening; risk assessment; service delivery models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms, Hereditary Nonpolyposis / diagnosis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms, Hereditary Nonpolyposis / genetics*
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods*
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Genetic Services / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • United States