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Effectiveness of oncogenetics training on general practitioners' consultation skills: a randomized controlled trial

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Purpose: General practitioners are increasingly called upon to deliver genetic services and could play a key role in translating potentially life-saving advancements in oncogenetic technologies to patient care. If general practitioners are to make an effective contribution in this area, their genetics competencies need to be upgraded. The aim of this study was to investigate whether oncogenetics training for general practitioners improves their genetic consultation skills.

Methods: In this pragmatic, blinded, randomized controlled trial, the intervention consisted of a 4-h training (December 2011 and April 2012), covering oncogenetic consultation skills (family history, familial risk assessment, and efficient referral), attitude (medical ethical issues), and clinical knowledge required in primary-care consultations. Outcomes were measured using observation checklists by unannounced standardized patients and self-reported questionnaires.

Results: Of 88 randomized general practitioners who initially agreed to participate, 56 completed all measurements. Key consultation skills significantly and substantially improved; regression coefficients after intervention were equivalent to 0.34 and 0.28 at 3-month follow-up, indicating a moderate effect size. Satisfaction and perceived applicability of newly learned skills were highly scored.

Conclusion: The general practitioner-specific training proved to be a feasible, satisfactory, and clinically applicable method to improve oncogenetics consultation skills and could be used as an educational framework to inform future training activities with the ultimate aim of improving medical care.

    Research areas

  • general practice, genetic consultation skills, genetics education, hereditary cancer, oncogenetics, standardized patients, training, PRIMARY-CARE PHYSICIANS, BREAST-CANCER RISK, OF-THE-LITERATURE, STANDARDIZED PATIENTS, GENOMIC MEDICINE, PRACTICE PERFORMANCE, FAMILY-HISTORY, HEALTH-CARE, GENETICS, EDUCATION
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-52
Number of pages8
JournalGenetics in Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014