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Keywords:

  • genomics;
  • personalized medicine;
  • physicians perception;
  • focus groups;
  • qualitative research;
  • genetic testing

Abstract

Personalized medicine—tailoring interventions based on individual's genetic information—will likely change routine clinical practice in the future. Yet, how practitioners plan to apply genetic information to inform medical decision making remains unclear. We aimed to investigate physician's perception about the future role of personalized medicine, and to identify the factors that influence their decision in using genetic testing in their practice. We conducted three semi-structured focus groups in three health regions (Fraser, Vancouver coastal, and Interior) in British Columbia, Canada. In the focus groups, participants discussed four topics on personalized medicine: (i) physicians' general understanding, (ii) advantages and disadvantages, (iii) potential impact and role in future clinical practice, and (iv) perceived barriers to integrating personalized medicine into clinical practice. Approximately 36% (n = 9) of physicians self-reported that they were not familiar with the concept of personalized medicine. After introducing the concept, the majority of physicians (68%, n = 19 of 28) were interested in incorporating personalized medicine in their practice, provided they have access to the necessary knowledge and tools. Participants mostly believed that genetic developments will directly affect their practice in the future. The key concerns highlighted were physician's access to clinical guidelines and training opportunities for the use of genetic testing and data interpretation. Despite the challenges that personalized medicine can create, in general, physicians in the focus groups expressed strong interest in using genetic information in their practice if they have access to the necessary knowledge and tools. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.