Integrating Genomic Screening into Primary Care: Provider Experiences Caring for Latino Patients at a Community-Based Health Center

J Prim Care Community Health. 2021 Jan-Dec:12:21501327211000242. doi: 10.1177/21501327211000242.


Introduction: Minority communities have had limited access to advances in genomic medicine. Mayo Clinic and Mountain Park Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center in Phoenix, Arizona, partnered to assess the feasibility of offering genomic screening to Latino patients receiving care at a community-based health center. We examined primary care provider (PCP) experiences reporting genomic screening results and integrating those results into patient care.

Methods: We conducted open-ended, semi-structured interviews with PCPs and other members of the health care team charged with supporting patients who received positive genomic screening results. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed thematically.

Results: Of the 500 patients who pursued genomic screening, 10 received results indicating a genetic variant that warranted clinical management. PCPs felt genomic screening was valuable to patients and their families, and that genomic research should strive to include underrepresented minorities. Providers identified multiple challenges integrating genomic sequencing into patient care, including difficulties maintaining patient contact over time; arranging follow-up medical care; and managing results in an environment with limited genetics expertise. Providers also reflected on the ethics of offering genomic sequencing to patients who may not be able to pursue diagnostic testing or follow-up care due to financial constraints.

Conclusions: Our results highlight the potential benefits and challenges of bringing advances in precision medicine to community-based health centers serving under-resourced populations. By proactively considering patient support needs, and identifying financial assistance programs and patient-referral mechanisms to support patients who may need specialized medical care, PCPs and other health care providers can help to ensure that precision medicine lives up to its full potential as a tool for improving patient care.

Keywords: federally qualified health center; genomic screening; health disparities; individualized medicine; primary care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Centers*
  • Genomics
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Team
  • Primary Health Care*