2 research outputs found

    Recontacting patients in clinical genetics services: recommendations of the European Society of Human Genetics

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    Technological advances have increased the availability of genomic data in research and the clinic. If, over time, interpretation of the significance of the data changes, or new information becomes available, the question arises as to whether recontacting the patient and/or family is indicated. The Public and Professional Policy Committee of the European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG), together with research groups from the UK and the Netherlands, developed recommendations on recontacting which, after public consultation, have been endorsed by ESHG Board. In clinical genetics, recontacting for updating patients with new, clinically significant information related to their diagnosis or previous genetic testing may be justifiable and, where possible, desirable. Consensus about the type of information that should trigger recontacting converges around its clinical and personal utility. The organization of recontacting procedures and policies in current health care systems is challenging. It should be sustainable, commensurate with previously obtained consent, and a shared responsibility between healthcare providers, laboratories, patients, and other stakeholders. Optimal use of the limited clinical resources currently available is needed. Allocation of dedicated resources for recontacting should be considered. Finally, there is a need for more evidence, including economic and utility of information for people, to inform which strategies provide the most cost-effective use of healthcare resources for recontacting

    Recontacting or not recontacting? A survey of current practices in clinical genetics centres in Europe

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    Advances in genomic medicine are improving diagnosis and treatment of some health conditions, and the question of whether former patients should be recontacted is therefore timely. The issue of recontacting is becoming more important with increased integration of genomics in 'mainstream' medicine. Empirical evidence is needed to advance the discussion over whether and how recontacting should be implemented. We administered a web-based survey to genetic services in European countries to collect information about existing infrastructures and practices relevant to recontacting patients. The majority of the centres stated they had recontacted patients to update them about new significant information; however, there were no standardised practices or systems in place. There was also a multiplicity of understandings of the term 'recontacting', which respondents conflated with routine follow-up programmes, or even with post-test counselling. Participants thought that recontacting systems should be implemented to provide the best service to the patients and families. Nevertheless, many barriers to implementation were mentioned. These included: lack of resources and infrastructure, concerns about potential negative psychological consequences of recontacting, unclear operational definitions of recontacting, policies that prevent healthcare professionals from recontacting, and difficulties in locating patients after their last contact. These barriers are also intensified by the highly variable development (and establishment) of the specialties of medical genetics and genetic counselling across different European countries. Future recommendations about recontacting need to consider these barriers. It is also important to reach an 'operational definition' that can be useful in different countries