What is the difference between a genetic test ordered by a consumer and a test ordered through a doctor?

The convenience of ordering a genetic test via the Internet may seem tempting, but at the current time there are a lot of unknowns. Consulting with a healthcare professional has many advantages. For example, a patient may believe they should take a test even though there is no evidence of disease. In this situation, a doctor could prevent the patient from wasting a significant amount of money on a genetic test they don't need.

In addition, an online testing company does not require proof of identification when doing a genetic test. As a result, a customer could send in another person's DNA sample raising privacy concerns. Doctor involvement allows for better privacy protections by ensuring that your DNA falls under the Health Information Privacy Protection Act (HIPPA), not the jursidiction of a lab that resides in a state with unknown consumer privacy laws.

A health care professional can also help with interpreting the test results and understanding the limitations of genetic testing. It's likely that if a physician or a genetic counselor is not part of that process, you won't be getting the best care possible.

Suggested reading: Too Much Information: Results of Home DNA Tests Can Shock, Misinform Some Users

 

 

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