Date: 14 Jun 2014

Information-Seeking and Sharing Behavior Following Genomic Testing for Diabetes Risk

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As the practice of medicine has become more patient-driven, patients are increasingly seeking health information within and outside of their doctor’s office. Patients looking for information and support are often turning to the Internet as well as family and friends. As part of a study to understand the impact of delivery method of genomic testing for type 2 diabetes risk on comprehension and health-related behaviors, we assessed participants’ information-seeking and sharing behaviors after receiving their results in-person with a genetic counselor or online through the testing company’s website. We found that 32.6 % of participants sought information after receiving the genomic test results for T2DM; 80.8 % of those that did seek information turned to the Internet. Eighty-eight percent of participants reported that they shared their T2DM risk results, primarily with their spouse/partner (65 %) and other family members (57 %) and children (19 %); 14 % reported sharing results with their health provider. Sharing was significantly increased in those who received results in-person from the genetic counselor (p = 0.0001). Understanding patients’ interests and needs for additional information after genomic testing and with whom they share details of their health is important as more information and clinical services are available and accessed outside the clinician’s office. Genetic counselors’ expertise and experience in creating educational materials and promoting sharing of genetic information can facilitate patient engagement and education.