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Many Pediatricians Uncomfortable With Genetic Disease Care

Most order few genetics tests, few take extensive family histories, few discuss risks and benefits

Many Pediatricians Uncomfortable With Genetic Disease Care

TUESDAY, Nov. 26, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Only about half of primary care pediatricians feel competent caring for children with genetic disorders, according to a study published online Nov. 19 in the American Journal of Medical Genetics.

Michael L. Rinke, M.D., Ph.D., from Children's Hospital at Montefiore in Bronx, N.Y., and colleagues conducted an online survey of 88 primary care pediatricians (associated with the American Academy of Pediatrics' Quality Improvement Innovation Networks) regarding their care of genetic patients, their attitudes toward genetic medical care, and their practices on taking family histories.

The researchers found that 86 percent of pediatricians ordered genetic tests no more than three times a year, 49 percent felt competent providing genetics- and genomics-based health care to patients, and 13 percent strongly agreed that they discussed the potential risks, benefits, and limitations of genetic tests with patients. Although all respondents said that taking a family history was important, only 31 percent agreed or strongly agreed that they took a family history going back at least three generations.

"Primary care pediatricians interested in quality improvement reported variation in care practices for children with genetic diseases, and a majority did not feel competent to provide genetic-related health care," Rinke and colleagues conclude.

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