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12.10.2017 | Original Research | Ausgabe 3/2018

Journal of Genetic Counseling 3/2018

Assessment of Current Genetic Counselor Practices in Post-Visit Written Communications to Patients

Journal of Genetic Counseling > Ausgabe 3/2018
Emily VandenBoom, Angela M. Trepanier, Erin P. Carmany


Providing patients with post-visit written communication (PVWC) is a long-standing component of genetic counseling. However the depiction of this practice in today’s clinical landscape is limited. To better describe this practice, we surveyed practicing clinical genetic counselors to ask if they send post-visit communications to patients and if so, what are the types, the average length, and the average time spent writing. They were also asked the perceived purpose of providing PVWC, if/how the practice has changed over time, and factors influencing the practice. Eighty three percent (233/280) of participants reported sending patients PVWC. Of those, 93% sent at least one communication written in patient-friendly language. The type of communication varied by specialty. Prenatal genetic counselors were less likely to send patient-specific letters and hybrid letters (defined as letters with content intended for both a physician and a patient) than those in cancer genetics (p = 0.010, p = 0.001, respectively) or pediatric genetics (p = 0.001, p = 0.004, respectively). Prenatal genetic counselors spent less time on average writing post-visit communications (19.0 min) relative to those in cancer and pediatric genetics (30.6 min, p = 0.027 and 37.7 min, p = 0.001, respectively). The most commonly cited purpose for sending PVWC was to provide patients a formal account of what happened during the appointment. These data suggest PWVC are still regularly sent to patients but the practice is variable and is influenced by numerous factors including specialty, years of experience, and time constraints.

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