Genetic Testing Goes Mainstream: Two Questions Employers Should Ask 

Aug 08 2018

If genetic testing isn’t already on your radar, it should be. Over the last few years, there’s been an explosion of direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies, and they’re wising up to the fact that employers often hold the purse-strings in healthcare. When genetic testing companies come knocking on your door, it’ll be important to have a strong understanding of the space -- and to know what guardrails to put in place for any future partners. If you’re unsure how to filter through the noise in this space, try starting with two basic questions:

  1. What is the clinical validity of this test, and what’s the practical application of the test results? For example, some tests will tell me that I have an increased likelihood of Alzheimer’s, which may be clinically valid. But there is no practical next step for me once I know the test result, so what is the actual value of the test?
  2. How are employees supported once they receive their results? Look for companies that offer access to genetic counselors, who can walk employees through their test results. Finding out that you may have an increased risk of developing an illness is a deeply emotional experience, and it’s essential that employees are provided the clinical support necessary to understand what to do following a genetic test.

For more considerations, check out this article from EBN – it does a great job of highlighting important considerations for employers.

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