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Publication Detail
Opening the "black box" of informed consent appointments for genome sequencing: a multisite observational study.
PURPOSE: Little is known about how health-care professionals communicate with patients about consenting to genome sequencing. We therefore examined what topics health-care professionals covered and what questions patients asked during consent conversations. METHODS: Twenty-one genome sequencing consent appointments were audio recorded and analyzed. Participants were 35 individuals being invited to participate in the 100,000 Genomes Project (14 participants with rare diseases, 21 relatives), and 10 health-care professionals ("consenters"). RESULTS: Two-thirds of participants' questions were substantive (e.g., genetics and inheritance); one-third administrative (e.g., filling in the consent form). Consenters usually (19/21) emphasized participant choice about secondary findings, but less often (13/21) emphasized the uncertainty about associated disease risks. Consenters primarily used passive statements and closed-ended, rather than open-ended, questions to invite participants' questions and concerns. In two appointments, one parent expressed negative or uncertain views about secondary findings, but after discussion with the other parent opted to receive them. CONCLUSION: Health-care professionals need to be prepared to answer patients' questions about genetics to facilitate genome sequencing consent. Health-care professionals' education also needs to address how to effectively listen and elicit each patient's questions and views, and how to discuss uncertainty around the disease risks associated with secondary findings.
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