Joy Larsen Haidle Discusses How Patients Should Use Genetic Tests

Patients considering using a genetic test should meet with a genetic counselor first to get a better understanding of the patient's goal for getting the test done and determine the likelihood that a test might be useful, explained Joy Larsen Haidle, MS, CGC, president of the National Society of Genetic Counselors.

Patients considering using a genetic test should meet with a genetic counselor first to get a better understanding of the patient's goal for getting the test done and determine the likelihood that a test might be useful, explained Joy Larsen Haidle, MS, CGC, president of the National Society of Genetic Counselors.

Transcript (slightly modified)

With so many new genetic tests entering the market and not all of them regulated, how can consumers be smart about which tests they use?

I think if anybody is considering using a genetic test, meeting with a genetic counselor is a useful resource. Our job is to talk through what your concern is, what your goal is for getting the test done, take a look at the family history and determine the level of the likelihood that one of these tests might actually provide useful information. And we'll talk through and select the best test to fit that need.

Should the FDA become more involved with regulating diagnostic tests?

One of the main concerns along with the regulation of genetic tests is the test itself, the components are something that can be easily regulated, but by the time the laboratories are taking a look at the actual result, it's complicated. They have to be pulling together pieces of information from a broad variety of databases and using their skill set to provide a result that's meaningful. Some would argue that that enters into the practice of medicine: by the time you've taken all of that information, pulled it together to create a result that's in the context of that person.