PURPOSE: Evidence-based somatic and germline sequencing has transformed cancer care and improves patient outcomes. However, patients' low genetic literacy and misunderstanding of their own genomic results poses a threat to the realization of precision oncology. To optimize patient genomic comprehension, we developed a Web-based, patient-directed, genomic sequencing education and return-of-results tool, HOPE-Genomics.
METHODS: The HOPE-Genomics prototype included somatic and germline sequencing results, embedded multimedia genomic education, and interactive features (eg, request for genetic counseling). Between January and April 2018, we elicited feedback on tool usability and comprehensiveness through participant surveys, 4 focus groups of patients with cancer and their family members, and 3 provider focus groups (comprising 8 patients, 5 family members, and 19 providers).
RESULTS: We identified themes in patient/family tool-related responses, including the desire to view a patient-friendly report, a desire to receive multiple types of genomic information (eg, prognostic and uncertain), high acceptability of report content, and interest in tool-enabled access to genetic counseling. Major themes from the clinician focus groups included believing the tool could help patients formulate questions and facilitate patients' communication of results to family members. However, there were diverse responses from all participants in terms of tool implementation (ie, timing and nature of report release). Some participants preferred report release before meeting with the provider, and others preferred it during the appointment. Additionally, some clinicians were concerned about providing prognostic and treatment information through the tool.
CONCLUSION: There was high acceptability and interest from patients, family members, and providers in a patient-directed genomics report. Future work will determine whether direct-to-patient reporting of genomic results improves patient knowledge, care engagement, and compliance with genomically guided interventions.