Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

Communicating genetic results

In this step, we will hear from Glen Brice, Senior Genetic Counsellor, about his experience of communicating genetic results to patients.
Communicating a genetic result also requires consideration of a number of factors:

  • If a pathogenic mutation is identified, the impact on clinical management of the patient and family should be explored. This will often require risk communication skills, and communication of uncertainty, either of onset, or severity of the condition, or what the future holds for the patient and their family.

  • If no mutation is identified, patients may feel angry and distressed that no cause for their condition has been identified. Communicating what happens next in light of a negative test result also requires great sensitivity and communication of uncertainty.

  • If a genetic variant is identified which is difficult to interpret, the clinician will need to explain the uncertainty of the result and have a clear management plan for the patient, which may include further testing in the family.

Occasionally, genetic tests reveal unexpected information, such as incidental findings, or non-paternity. Clinicians should be prepared to explain such unexpected information in a sensitive and informative manner.

© St George’s, University of London
This article is from the free online

The Genomics Era: the Future of Genetics in Medicine

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now