a his & hers weblog of worlds apart
Cause for concern?
I read a lot about direct-to-consumer genetic testing, and there is little that I read these days that catches me by surprise. So, when I read that 23andMe started selling their services in Southern California outpatient health centers, I didn’t really blink an eye. Until I read this:
Those who purchase the service at these facilities will also receive a 30-minute educational session with a PPH nurse, who will answer questions about genetic testing using educational materials developed by 23andMe. Referrals are provided to genetic counselors, but the education session is not genetic counseling.”
I guess I appreciate that 23andMe made the effort to explicitly state that they are not providing genetic counseling services. But it seems to me that they are going to great lengths not to provide genetic counseling. This system implies that the education piece can be done completely separately from the counseling piece.
I see a fundamental difference between not providing genetic counseling to an online customer vs. putting a customer face-to-face with a healthcare provider and deliberately not providing any counseling. More on this difference later. For now, I’d be interested to sit in on one of these educational sessions. Do the nurses have any additional training in genetics? Is there a protocol for identifying those patients who would benefit from a referral to a genetic counselor? Are online customers ever provided an option for a referral to a genetic counselor? Anyone who can provide clarification, it would be greatly appreciated.