Healthcare Business News

Genetic testing doesn't increase healthcare use: study

By Paul Barr
Posted: May 17, 2012 - 1:00 pm ET

Genetic testing does not drive increased use of health services, according to the results of a study published online by the journal Genetics in Medicine.

The National Institutes of Health-led study found that the increased information about disease risk that results from genetic testing does not appreciably drive up or diminish participants' demand for follow-up healthcare, according to an NIH news release.

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The study aimed to address some of the uncertainty among healthcare providers about whether people who received the genetic risk information would seek additional diagnostic testing to monitor for predicted illnesses. “This study goes a long way towards bringing data to these debates and shows that people are not likely to make inappropriate demands of health delivery systems if they are properly informed about the limitations of genetic tests,” said Colleen McBride, chief of the National Human Genome Research Institute's Social and Behavioral Research Branch, in the release.

The study of 217 healthy people between the ages of 25 and 40 used electronic health records, which the authors said are more accurate than self-reporting by the participants. The research was conducted through the Multiplex Initiative, a multicenter collaborative involving the National Institutes of Health's Intramural Research Program, Group Health Cooperative in Seattle, and the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.

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