Understanding the impact of genetic testing for inherited retinal dystrophy.

University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.
European journal of human genetics: EJHG (Impact Factor: 4.23). 02/2013; DOI: 10.1038/ejhg.2013.19
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The capability of genetic technologies is expanding rapidly in the field of inherited eye disease. New genetic testing approaches will deliver a step change in the ability to diagnose and extend the possibility of targeted treatments. However, evidence is lacking about the benefits of genetic testing to support service planning. Here, we report qualitative data about retinal dystrophy families' experiences of genetic testing in United Kingdom. The data were part of a wider study examining genetic eye service provision. Twenty interviewees from families in which a causative mutation had been identified by a genetic eye clinic were recruited to the study. Fourteen interviewees had chosen to have a genetic test and five had not; one was uncertain. In-depth telephone interviews were conducted allowing a thorough exploration of interviewees' views and experiences of the benefits of genetic counselling and testing. Transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis. Both affected and unaffected interviewees expressed mainly positive views about genetic testing, highlighting benefits such as diagnostic confirmation, risk information, and better preparation for the future. Negative consequences included the burden of knowledge, moral dilemmas around reproduction, and potential impact on insurance. The offer of genetic testing was often taken up, but was felt unnecessary in some cases. Interviewees in the study reported many benefits, suggesting genetic testing should be available to this patient group. The benefits and risks identified will inform future evaluation of models of service delivery. This research was part of a wider study exploring experiences of families with retinal dystrophy.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 13 February 2013; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2013.19.

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    ABSTRACT: Advances in sequencing technology and the movement of genetic testing into all areas of medicine will increase opportunities for molecular confirmation of a clinical diagnosis. For health-care professionals without formal genetics training, there is a need to know what patients understand about genetics and genetic testing and their information needs and preferences for the disclosure of genetic testing results. These topics were explored during face-to-face interviews with 50 adults with inherited retinal disease, selected in order to provide a diversity of opinions. Participants had variable understanding of genetics and genetic testing, including basic concepts such as inheritance patterns and the risk to dependents, and many did not understand the term 'genetic counselling'. Most were keen for extra information on the risk to others, the process for genetic testing and how to share the information with other family members. Participants were divided as to whether genetic testing should be offered at the time of the initial diagnosis or later. Many would prefer the results to be given by face-to-face consultation, supplemented by further information in a format accessible to those with visual impairment. Health-care professionals and either leaflets or websites of trusted agencies were the preferred sources of information. Permission should be sought for disclosure of genetic information to other family members. The information needs of many patients with inherited retinal disease appear to be unmet. An understanding of their information needs and preferences is required to help health-care professionals provide optimal services that meet patient expectations.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 8 January 2014; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2013.296.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper investigates the willingness of adults with inherited retinal disease to undergo and pay for diagnostic genetic testing in three hypothetical scenarios and to explore the factors that influence decision making. Fifty patients were presented with three scenarios whereby genetic testing provided increasing information: confirming the diagnosis and inheritance pattern alone, providing additional information on future visual function, and identifying in addition a new treatment which could stabilise their condition. Willingness to pay (WTP) was elicited using an iterative bidding game. Regression analysis was used to investigate the probability of agreeing to and paying for testing. Qualitative data were also reviewed to provide a comprehensive understanding of WTP and decision making. The majority of participants agreed to undergo genetic testing in each of the three scenarios. Scenario 2 was the least acceptable with 78% of participants agreeing to genetic testing. The probability of agreeing to genetic testing decreased with age. Between 72 and 96% of participants reported a WTP for genetic testing. Average WTP was £539, £1516, and £6895 for scenarios 1, 2, and 3 respectively. Older participants and participants with higher incomes were willing to pay more for testing. Qualitative data provided additional detail about the rationale behind participants' decisions. The study suggests that patients with inherited retinal disease were willing to undergo and to pay for diagnostic genetic testing, suggesting that they valued the information it may provide. However, several patients preferred not to receive prognostic information and were less willing to pay for genetic testing that yielded such detail.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 11 June 2014; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2014.111.
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    ABSTRACT: Little research has explored the views of patients referred to specialist genetic eye clinics. Future service development must be informed by the perspectives of patients to ensure services are accessible and meet their needs. Semi-structured telephone interviews were undertaken with patients referred to the Genetic Eye Clinic in Manchester, UK. Participants were interviewed before their first appointment. The interview transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Nine interviews took place. Five participants were adults with sight loss and 4 were the parent/carer of a child patient. The major themes identified were: expectations of a medical-genetic focus to the clinic, psychological adjustment to the diagnosis of an eye condition impacting on counselling and support needs, lack of preparation and restricted expectations due to unfamiliarity with the service and positive attitudes towards genetic research and testing. Key motivating factors for patients attending specialist ophthalmic genetic services are medical-genetic orientated, including accurate diagnostic and prognostic information, participation in research and clarification of recurrence risks. Some barriers to patients accessing and fully engaging with services were identified. There is a need to raise awareness of the specialist service amongst the public, patient organisations and professionals. Facilitating patient preparation for clinic could improve patient outcomes, and the need for integrated services is reinforced. The results feed into the development of a best practice model for the delivery of specialist ophthalmic genetic services.
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