Healthcare Professionals' Attitudes toward Rapid Whole Genome Sequencing in Pediatric Acute Care

Children (Basel). 2022 Mar 4;9(3):357. doi: 10.3390/children9030357.


We aimed to characterize knowledge and attitudes about rapid whole genome sequencing (rWGS) implementation of a broad constituency of healthcare professionals at hospitals participating in a statewide initiative to implement rWGS for hospitalized neonates and children up to 18 years of age meeting clinical criteria for testing. We surveyed 307 healthcare professionals from eight hospitals about their knowledge and attitudes regarding rWGS. We examined survey internal reliability using exploratory factor analysis and associations between respondent characteristics and attitudes toward rWGS with linear regression. We thematically analyzed free-text responses. Views about rWGS implementation in respondents' own setting and respondents' personal capability to implement rWGS were generally neutral (M = 3.44 (SD = 0.74); M = 3.30 (SD = 0.85), respectively). Views about the potential for rWGS in clinical practice were overall positive (M = 4.12 (SD = 0.57)). The degree of positivity of attitudes about rWGS was strongly influenced by perceived knowledge, clinical or non-clinical role, concerns about future insurance coverage for rWGS as a first-tier test, and future adverse impact of genomics health information on patients or families. We identified several actionable factors influencing attitudes toward rWGS of pediatric healthcare professionals. Expanded education and ongoing implementation research are needed for the full potential of rWGS in pediatrics to be realized.

Keywords: genetics; genomics; hospital medicine; medical technology and advancement; pediatrics.