Taylor A. Steyer, Priscila D. Hodges, Caroline E. Rouse, Wilfredo Torres-Martinez, Leah Wetherill, Karrie A. Hines
Although Hispanic individuals are at an increased risk for various genetic conditions, they have lower uptake of genetic counseling and genetic testing. Virtual appointments have many advantages that may help Spanish-speaking patients access genetic services more readily. Despite these benefits, there are limitations that may make them less attractive options for these individuals. This study aimed to determine if satisfaction with genetic counseling or mode of delivery preference differs between English- and Spanish-speaking individuals who have had a virtual prenatal genetic counseling session. Participants were recruited from prenatal genetic counseling clinics at Indiana University Health and Eskenazi Hospital. A REDCap survey was sent to all eligible participants. Survey questions included mode of delivery preference for future genetic counseling sessions (virtual versus in-person), the validated Genetic Counseling Satisfaction Scale, and questions inquiring about the importance of various factors affecting mode of delivery preference. Spanish-speaking individuals preferred future visits to be in-person, while English-speaking individuals preferred future visits to be virtual (Fisher's exact p = 0.003). Several factors were associated with these preferences, including waiting time, ability to leave/take off work for an appointment, length of session, childcare arrangements, and people attending the appointment (all p < 0.05). Both language groups reported similar mean satisfaction with the genetic counseling provided during their previous virtual appointments (p = 0.51). This study found that certain aspects of virtual genetic counseling appointments make them less appealing to Spanish-speaking individuals. Making virtual genetic counseling appointments more appealing while continuing to offer in-person appointments may help Spanish-speaking individuals receive necessary genetics services. Continued research into disparities and barriers to telemedicine for Spanish-speaking patients is necessary to increase access to this service delivery model for genetic counseling.
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