Incorporating Genetic Counselors in Your Practice
In-person Genetic Counseling
Most genetic counseling services are provided in-person at hospital-based and academic settings. By contacting a local genetic counselor, they can get patients scheduled for an in-person genetic counseling consultation. Following such an appointment, the genetic counselors will communicate with the referring/primary care physician so that the information from the risk assessment can be used when making healthcare decisions. Health insurance often pays for in-person genetic counseling and genetic testing when it is recommended by a genetic counselor or doctor. However, it is important to check with a patient’s insurance company to verify coverage.
Telegenetics allows comprehensive genetics services to reach children and families when travel, distance, and shortage of genetics professionals interfere with access. By utilizing interactive video and a secure high-speed connection, genetic counselors can “virtually meet” with a patient at a regional clinic or hospital in real time.
Enhance Your Practice: When in-person appointments are not possible, some genetic counselors can use telegenetics to connect with your patients directly in your office, or from a convenient location to complete a counseling session. They can provide the same services as an in-person genetic counselor without having to travel to your location.
Telephone Genetic Counseling
If an in-person referral or telegenetics is not available or feasible, the genetic counseling community now offers genetic counseling via telephone through at least two options: contract services and laboratory services.
Enhance Your Practice: Genetic counselors can increase patient satisfaction and enhance the services you are able to offer by delivering expert, complementary services to help you meet your patients' needs over the phone. They are trained to tailor, translate and communicate the complexities of cancer genetics into practical, understandable decision-making information that you and your patients can use for their health management.
Genetic counseling companies have been established to offer telephone- and web-based genetic counseling for hereditary cancer risk assessment. Additionally, some genetic counselors may offer telephone-based genetic counseling from their academic or hospital-based office. Offering telephone genetic counseling may be appropriate when the patient needs more flexible appointment scheduling, or reduced travel time.
Contacting genetic counselors in the laboratory where genetic testing is performed is another option available when considering the appropriateness of a genetics referral, ordering a genetic test for a patient, or getting assistance in interpreting genetic test results. Many molecular diagnostic laboratories employ genetic counselors that serve as liaisons between healthcare providers and the laboratory.
A good resource for information about specific genetic tests is Lab Tests Online. Lab Tests Online is an award-winning health information web resource designed to help patients and caregivers understand the many lab tests that are a vital part of medical care. Laboratory professionals, including genetic counselors, who are experts in the field develop and review all content, including articles on lab tests, conditions/diseases, screening, clinical laboratory topics, and lab test news. The site is produced by AACC, a global scientific and medical professional organization dedicated to clinical laboratory science and its application to healthcare.