What is Telegenetic Counseling?
Telegenetic counseling is the provision of genetic counseling services through a virtual platform, or video call.
Online genetic counseling is taking off, and in the process removing barriers to accessibility that often prevent many rare disease patients and their families access crucial genetic counseling services.
What is genetic counseling?
Genetic counseling is many things. First and foremost it is a critical, and essential, part of the diagnostic process. Anyone, be it an individual, couple, or family, facing a rare disease diagnosis or with a family history of a rare disease, should have access to genetic counseling services.
There are many types of genetic counseling services, and specialties. But essentially it provides:
- Information, awareness, support, and expert advice on genetic syndromes including their causes and symptoms.
- An understanding of the potential risk of having a child with a rare disease.
- The types of genetic analysis and testing available to individuals and families.
- Assistance with the long term management of a rare disease in terms of support and treatment options.
Genetic counseling is a bridge between medical and genetic teams, and individuals and families.
In-person counseling – the main issues
The main issue with in-person counseling has been accessibility.
Obstacles to accessibility have included:
Not all individuals and families have genetic counseling services in their local areas. This is especially true in rural, remote, and less developed areas. This has meant people have faced long journey times, in order to access genetic counseling services. This makes location a real barrier to accessing genetic counseling services for many people.
For individuals and families juggling both work and personal commitments, as well as other family members in the case of families with multiple children, location and scheduling conflicts are huge barriers to accessing genetic counseling.
Generally genetic counseling services are very popular, and more so as awareness about rare disease, and genetic testing options, grow. This in turn leads to a long wait list for crucial services, and can lead to a delay in the entire diagnostic process of a rare disease. Again, people are faced with having to travel long distances, or wait long periods of time, to access genetic counseling services. This in turn can slow down the entire diagnostic process.
Telegenetic counseling – the stand out benefits
We take a look at how Telegenetic counseling removes obstacles to accessing genetic counseling, and how it makes it much more accessible for the people who really need it.
Available from Anywhere
Telegenetic counseling requires nothing more than a connected device, with video capabilities. It can be accessed from a smartphone, tablet, or computer. This means it can be accessed from the comfort of a patient’s own home.
This in turn eliminates location issues, as it doesn’t matter where either patient or genetic counselor are based, because they can connect virtually. This eliminates long journey times and makes genetic counseling that much more accessible.
Network of Experts
Telegenetic counseling connects rare disease patients and their families to a wide network of genetic counselors. Without location constraints, individuals and families can connect to a global network of counselors. This in turn reduces waiting times by increasing the number of genetic counselors available, and improves availability to genetic counselors at the same time.
The removal of the main obstacles surrounding accessibility to genetic counseling has many benefits for those who need the services. There is the opportunity to save time, and to make genetic counseling easier to schedule. It also increases the affordability of the service, as virtual services require less to maintain, a cost saving that can be passed onto the patient.
Telegenetic counseling – is it effective?
For many people Telegenetic counseling is as effective as in-person counseling. Once both sides are comfortable with talking and sharing through their screen, and via video, there are very few differences in terms of the effectiveness of online genetic counseling, compared to in-person.
Genetic counseling is a way to support, provide information, and give expert advice. It can be performed as well online, as it can in-person. Many studies have shown that patients, especially, regard virtual counseling to be as effective as in-person counseling. What is crucial, and the research supports this, is that patients have choice in how they receive their care.
Increasing the ways in which patients gain access to genetic counseling services, is an important part of putting the patient first. This is the guiding aim of Telegenetics counseling.