A randomized trial of a prenatal genetic testing interactive computerized information aid


  • Funding sources: NICHD 1R41HD058439-01A2. All work is the responsibility of the authors; the funding organization had no role in study design, analysis, or manuscript preparation.

  • Conflicts of interest: R. L. is the president of ArchieMD.

  • This abstract was presented as an oral presentation (abstract #21) at the 2012 Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine 32nd Annual Meeting in Dallas, TX, USA.



The aim of this study was to determine whether an interactive computer program could improve patient knowledge regarding genetic screening and diagnostic concepts.


In this randomized trial, women 6–26 weeks' gestation were assigned to standard care with provider-based counseling or to augmented counseling with an interactive computer program. The computer-based tool conveyed information about genetic testing options. Women were administered a 23-item test of content knowledge immediately and 2–4 weeks after exposure. Test scores were compared between groups at both points using T-tests.


A total of 150 women were randomized equally between groups. Groups were similar with regard to demographic characteristics. Women randomized to the interactive tool correctly answered a significantly greater proportion of questions than those who received standard counseling (69.4% ± 14.2% vs. 46.0% ± 15.2%, p < 0.001) on the immediate questionnaire. One hundred and twenty-three (82%) participants participated in the follow-up test. Women randomized to the tool continued to correctly answer a significantly greater proportion of questions (60.6% ± 16% vs. 49.7% ± 18.9%, p = 0.001). Education, health literacy, electronic health literacy, and other discussions with providers were not associated with a differential benefit from the educational intervention.


A patient-directed interactive computer program may help providers to convey relevant information about genetic screening and diagnostic concepts. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.