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Integrating genetic risk assessment for multi-factorial conditions into primary care

  • Alison Metcalfe (a1), Sue Wilson (a1), Deborah McCahon (a1), Helen V. Sleightholme (a2), Paramjit Gill (a1) and Trevor Cole (a3)...

Abstract

The genetic basis of many common, multi-factorial conditions is increasingly being understood but use of the knowledge created, raises major dilemmas for primary care. Identification of individuals that may be genetically predisposed to serious medical conditions provides the opportunity to offer screening or prophylactic treatment, for early detection or prevention and delay in disease onset in many complex conditions. We describe a new pilot service development to introduce genetic risk assessment for a wide range of conditions to primary care, and discuss the findings from its evaluation. The evaluation highlighted the issues about the incorporation of genetic risk assessment in primary care. The results of the evaluation along with findings from other studies, juxtaposed with the implications of developments in genetics suggest that changes are required to accommodate the integration of genetic risk assessment into primary care clinical practice. We discuss what these changes are, the benefits and drawbacks, and whether primary care can and is ready to make the changes required, further shifting the focus from disease treatment to disease prevention.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence to: Alison Metcalfe, Senior Research Fellow, School of Health and Population Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK. Email: a.m.metcalfe@bham.ac.uk

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Primary Health Care Research & Development
  • ISSN: 1463-4236
  • EISSN: 1477-1128
  • URL: /core/journals/primary-health-care-research-and-development
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