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Keywords:

  • direct-to-consumer;
  • disclosure of genetic results;
  • genetic counseling;
  • genomic education;
  • genomics;
  • outcomes;
  • personal genomic testing;
  • personalized medicine;
  • utilization

To describe consumers' perceptions of genetic counseling services in the context of direct-to-consumer personal genomic testing is the purpose of this research. Utilizing data from the Scripps Genomic Health Initiative, we assessed direct-to-consumer genomic test consumers' utilization and perceptions of genetic counseling services. At long-term follow-up, approximately 14 months post-testing, participants were asked to respond to several items gauging their interactions, if any, with a Navigenics genetic counselor, and their perceptions of those interactions. Out of 1325 individuals who completed long-term follow-up, 187 (14.1%) indicated that they had spoken with a genetic counselor. The most commonly given reason for not utilizing the counseling service was a lack of need due to the perception of already understanding one's results (55.6%). The most common reasons for utilizing the service included wanting to take advantage of a free service (43.9%) and wanting more information on risk calculations (42.2%). Among those who utilized the service, a large fraction reported that counseling improved their understanding of their results (54.5%) and genetics in general (43.9%). A relatively small proportion of participants utilized genetic counseling after direct-to-consumer personal genomic testing. Among those individuals who did utilize the service, however, a large fraction perceived it to be informative, and thus presumably beneficial.