School of Medicine and Health Sciences Poster Presentations

Title

Physician Survey on Utilization of Clinical Cancer Genetics Services at an Academic Institution

Document Type

Poster

Abstract Category

Cancer/Oncology

Keywords

cancer genetics services, utilization, barriers, physicians, survey

Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2019

Abstract

Background: Cancer genetic testing guides disease surveillance in those with moderate to high cancer risk and serves as a tool for personalized medicine in those diagnosed with cancer. Primary care and specialist providers are directly involved in the identification of individuals suitable for genetic counseling and testing (GCT) for cancer susceptibility, but familiarity with the breadth and complexity of testing among providers is not well described. This study assessed physicians' knowledge of cancer genetics and awareness of cancer genetic services at a single academic institution. Methods: A 15-question IRB-approved survey to assess provider knowledge of cancer GCT services was distributed online to health care providers of George Washington University's Medical Faculty Associates and satellite practices. Physician and non- physician providers across all departments were invited to participate in the survey. Results: 105 out of 784 providers completed the survey; female (61%); Internal Medicine (18%), OB/GYN (13%), and Hematology-Oncology (6%); 40% in practice for less than 5 years. 32% of providers sent cancer genetic testing on their patients in the past. 60% of providers said they felt comfortable counseling their patients about the testing. 40% had referred patients to cancer genetic counselors in past 6 months. Most providers (83%) were interested in receiving education on GCT. Self-perceived barriers to addressing cancer genetics in practice were the lack of knowledge about the topic (53%); not enough time to take a full family history (34%); and uncertainty in how to counsel patients with pathogenic mutations (30%). The main obstacle to referring patients was lack of familiarity with the referral process (49%), though 47% of providers were likely to refer patients to GCT if it was easily accessible and easy to screen. Conclusions: This study identified a gap between the cancer genetic services provided at an academic institution and the utilization of those services by its providers. Strategies for educating providers about the importance of cancer genetic counseling and implementing screening tools in the clinic to more easily identify potential candidates for GCT are needed.

Open Access

1

Comments

Presented at Research Days 2019.

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Physician Survey on Utilization of Clinical Cancer Genetics Services at an Academic Institution

Background: Cancer genetic testing guides disease surveillance in those with moderate to high cancer risk and serves as a tool for personalized medicine in those diagnosed with cancer. Primary care and specialist providers are directly involved in the identification of individuals suitable for genetic counseling and testing (GCT) for cancer susceptibility, but familiarity with the breadth and complexity of testing among providers is not well described. This study assessed physicians' knowledge of cancer genetics and awareness of cancer genetic services at a single academic institution. Methods: A 15-question IRB-approved survey to assess provider knowledge of cancer GCT services was distributed online to health care providers of George Washington University's Medical Faculty Associates and satellite practices. Physician and non- physician providers across all departments were invited to participate in the survey. Results: 105 out of 784 providers completed the survey; female (61%); Internal Medicine (18%), OB/GYN (13%), and Hematology-Oncology (6%); 40% in practice for less than 5 years. 32% of providers sent cancer genetic testing on their patients in the past. 60% of providers said they felt comfortable counseling their patients about the testing. 40% had referred patients to cancer genetic counselors in past 6 months. Most providers (83%) were interested in receiving education on GCT. Self-perceived barriers to addressing cancer genetics in practice were the lack of knowledge about the topic (53%); not enough time to take a full family history (34%); and uncertainty in how to counsel patients with pathogenic mutations (30%). The main obstacle to referring patients was lack of familiarity with the referral process (49%), though 47% of providers were likely to refer patients to GCT if it was easily accessible and easy to screen. Conclusions: This study identified a gap between the cancer genetic services provided at an academic institution and the utilization of those services by its providers. Strategies for educating providers about the importance of cancer genetic counseling and implementing screening tools in the clinic to more easily identify potential candidates for GCT are needed.