Stephanie A. Cohen, Dawn M. Nixon
The purpose of this nonrandomized study was to compare several attributes of hereditary cancer risk assessment using a collaborative model of service delivery. Arm 1 included patients seen in-person by a board-certified genetic counselor (CGC), Arm 2 included high-complexity triaged patients from distant sites who received telegenetics with a CGC, and Arm 3 included low-complexity triaged patients from distant sites who had in-person risk assessment with a locally placed genetic counselor extender (GCE). A total of 152 patients consented and 98 had complete data available for analysis (35 in Arm 1, 33 in Arm 2, and 30 in Arm 3). The three groups were comparable in age, ethnicity, education, employment, and cancer status. There was no significant difference in median wait time or distance traveled to receive care across all three arms. However, if patients in Arms 2 and 3 had to access the CGC in-person, they would have had to travel significantly further (p < 0.0001). The time spent in a session was significantly longer in Arm 3 with a GCE than with a CGC in-person or by telegenetics (p < 0.01). There was no difference in the number of essential elements covered in the appointment, change in cancer worry, or appointment satisfaction across all three arms, although the sample size was small. Employing a collaborative model of service delivery with GCEs and telegenetics is feasible, satisfactory to patients and reduces the distance patients travel to access hereditary cancer genetic services.
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