WMJ Vol 121 Issue 1: Telehealth in Genetics: The Genetic Counselor Perspective on the Utility of Telehealth in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Wisconsin
Background: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many genetics clinics across the country were prompted to integrate telephone visits and videoconferencing into their practice to promote the safety of patients and clinic staff members. Our study examined providers’ perspectives on the utility and effectiveness of these telehealth-based clinic visits in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Wisconsin.
Methods: An anonymous Qualtrics survey was distributed via email in October 2020 to all members of the Wisconsin Genetic Systems Integration Hub and the Wisconsin Genetic Counselor Association. Current clinical genetic providers were eligible to participate in the survey. The survey assessed providers’ experiences and perceptions toward utilizing telehealth in delivering clinical genetic services to their patients during the pandemic.
Results: Forty-seven currently practicing clinical genetic counselors in Wisconsin either partially or fully completed the survey. Nearly all respondents somewhat (23%) or strongly (75%) wanted to incorporate telehealth in the future, primarily because of perceived improvements in clinic functioning. Patients with suboptimal telecommunications capacities were considered the most challenging aspect of telehealth, and better technology support was the most frequently cited strategy for addressing current telehealth limitations.
Conclusion: Clinical genetic counselors in Wisconsin generally reported positive experiences integrating telehealth into their patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many counselors see telehealth as a way to increase access to genetic services and, with better technology support from their intuitions, would support utilizing telehealth in their clinical practice.
The target audience for this journal-based activity is healthcare providers caring for the people and communities of Wisconsin and beyond.
As a result of this journal-based activity, learners will be able to:
- Summarize the results of a survey study that explored the perspectives of clinical genetic providers regarding utility and effectiveness of telehealth and changes in their perspectives between early COVID-19 spread and Fall of 2020.
- Elaborate on opportunities to identify and employ effective ways of optimizing genetic services delivered via telehealth.
- Reflect on challenging aspects of telehealth and strategies to address them in the learner’s clinical practice.
It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin–Madison Interprofessional Continuing Education Partnership (ICEP) to identify, mitigate and disclose all relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies* held by the speakers/presenters, authors, planners, and other persons who may influence content of this accredited continuing education (CE). In addition, speakers, presenters and authors must disclose any planned discussion of unlabeled/unapproved uses of drugs or devices during their presentation.
For this accredited continuing education activity all relevant financial relationships have been mitigated and detailed disclosures are listed below.
|Name of Individual||Individual's Role in Activity|
Financial Relationship Disclosure
|Marianna Shershneva, MD, PhD||Accreditation Specialist||No relevant relationships with ineligible companies to disclose||No|
|Sarah H. Choi, MGCS||Author||No relevant relationships with ineligible companies to disclose||No|
|Marwat N. Salamin, BS||Author||No relevant relationships with ineligible companies to disclose||No|
|Catherine A. Reiser, MS||Author||No relevant relationships with ineligible companies to disclose||No|
|Lauren E. Rachow, BS||Author||No relevant relationships with ineligible companies to disclose||No|
|Michael R. Lasarev, MS||Author||No relevant relationships with ineligible companies to disclose||No|
|M. Stephen Meyn, MD, PhD||Author||No relevant relationships with ineligible companies to disclose||No|
|Elizabeth M. Petty, MD||Author||No relevant relationships with ineligible companies to disclose||No|
|Karol Kremens, MD||Reviewer||No relevant relationships with ineligible companies to disclose||No|
|Jutta Novalija, MD, PhD||Reviewer|
|Rohini Garg, MBBS||Reviewer|
|Robert Treat, PhD||Edotor|
*Ineligible companies are those whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on, patients.
The ACCME does not consider providers of clinical services directly to patients to be ineligible companies.
|In support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by the University of Wisconsin–Madison ICEP and the Wisconsin Medical Journal. The University of Wisconsin–Madison ICEP is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.|
Credit Designation Statements
American Medical Association (AMA)
The University of Wisconsin–Madison ICEP designates this journal-based CE activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Continuing Education Units
The University of Wisconsin–Madison ICEP, as a member of the University Professional & Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), authorizes this program for 0.1 continuing education units (CEUs) or 1 hour.
- 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
- 1.00 University of Wisconsin–Madison Continuing Education Hours
- 1.00 Approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
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