Are We Asking the Right Questions About Genetic Tests?

Posted by The Evidence Blog on January 29, 2015

With thousands of genetic tests on the market, patients and their healthcare providers have more tools than ever to detect harmful changes in a person’s genes that might be associated with life-threatening conditions. Nevertheless, genetic testing is not right for every patient, nor does every genetic test on the market today deliver information that enables providers to better manage their patients.

As genetic testing technology rushes headlong toward the use of advanced approaches such as whole exome or whole genome sequencing for clinical purposes, it becomes increasingly more difficult to determine when and for whom genetic testing is indicated. As part of our commitment to assist payers and providers in determining whether or not a genetic or genomic test should be performed, we recently published our latest white paper, 11 Questions to Ask When Making Genetic Testing Coverage Decisions. This resource outlines a series of questions that can be applied to a wide variety of genetic tests to help payers and providers decide whether or not a genetic test is right for the patient.

We advise payers and providers to question not only whether the test is appropriate, but to ask about the limitations of the test as well as the scientific evidence supporting the technical and clinical performance of the genetic test. Many tests have less than 100% sensitivity and specificity. That is, they may deliver false-negative and false-positive results. Healthcare providers need to consider the implications of these incorrect results on the patient. But more importantly, the results of genetic testing should enable the provider to more effectively medically manage the patient.

Download your complimentary copy of 11 Questions to Ask When Making Genetic Testing Coverage Decisions today to read more about the multiple considerations to take into account to avoid the financial, operational, and emotional consequences of performing unnecessary testing.

Topics: Hayes Blog

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