A cancer genetics toolkit improves access to genetic services through documentation and use of the family history by primary-care clinicians

1] VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, California, USA [2] Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California, USA.
Genetics in medicine: official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics (Impact Factor: 7.33). 06/2013; DOI: 10.1038/gim.2013.75
Source: PubMed


We developed, implemented, and evaluated a multicomponent cancer genetics toolkit designed to improve recognition and appropriate referral of individuals at risk for hereditary cancer syndromes.

We evaluated toolkit implementation in the women's clinics at a large Veterans Administration medical center using mixed methods, including pre-post semistructured interviews, clinician surveys, and chart reviews, and during implementation, monthly tracking of genetic consultation requests and use of a reminder in the electronic health record. We randomly sampled 10% of progress notes 6 months before (n = 139) and 18 months during implementation (n = 677).

The toolkit increased cancer family history documentation by almost 10% (26.6% pre- and 36.3% postimplementation). The reminder was a key component of the toolkit; when used, it was associated with a twofold increase in cancer family history documentation (odds ratio = 2.09; 95% confidence interval: 1.39-3.15), and the history was more complete. Patients whose clinicians completed the reminder were twice as likely to be referred for genetic consultation (4.1-9.6%, P < 0.0001).

A multicomponent approach to the systematic collection and use of family history by primary-care clinicians increased access to genetic services.

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