Genetic Testing Doesn't Up Post-Test Health Care Use

But individuals who complete multiplex genetic testing have more physician visits pre-test

WEDNESDAY, May 23 (HealthDay News) -- Receiving genetic susceptibility testing is associated with an increase in physician visits before testing, but does not impact subsequent health care utilization, according to a study published online May 17 in Genetics in Medicine.

Robert J. Reid, M.D., Ph.D., from the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, and colleagues surveyed 1,599 adults (aged 25 to 40 years) and offered them multiplex genetic susceptibility testing for eight common health conditions. Electronic health records were used to determine health-care utilization in the 12-month pre- and post-test periods for those who completed a baseline survey only (68.7 percent), those who visited the study Web site and decided not to undergo testing (17.8 percent), and those who underwent the multiplex genetic test (13.6 percent).

The researchers found that those who chose the multiplex testing had an average of 1.02 physician visits per quarter in the pre-test period, compared with 0.93 visits for those who only participated in the survey and 0.82 for those who visited the Web site (P < 0.05). For four common health conditions, there were no significant differences in the pre-test use of any common medical tests or procedures. In the post-test period there were no statistically significant differences in any utilization category by group.

"This study supports the supposition that multiplex genetic testing offers can be provided directly to the patients in such a way that use of health services is not inappropriately increased," the authors write.

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