https://acpinternist.org/weekly/archives/2022/08/02/5.htm

ACP offers guidance on ethical use of genetic testing, precision medicine

The College notes that genetic testing should be guided by the best interests of the patient, scientific evidence, and ethical standards and that testing must be clinically indicated, among other positions.


A new position paper from the ACP offers guidance regarding ethical decision making about integrating precision medicine and genetic testing into internal medicine.

ACP's Ethics, Professionalism, and Human Rights Committee developed the paper in response to rapid advances in genome sequencing technology and a resulting range of genetic testing technologies that can contribute to precision medicine.

The position paper states:

  • As with any medical testing, genetic testing should be guided by the best interests of the patient, scientific evidence, and ethical standards. Testing must be clinically indicated, and whether the results of the test will affect clinical decision making must be considered. The benefits of genetic testing are greatest when it is used to answer an actionable clinical question and the findings can be translated into treatment recommendations.
  • Physicians should engage with patients in discussions about the opportunities and ethical challenges of genetic testing and precision medicine.
  • Physicians can assist patients in understanding the risks, benefits, and uncertainty of direct-to-consumer genetic medical testing. ACP discourages the use of direct-to-consumer genetic medical testing and advises that testing should be done in the context of a patient-physician relationship, with appropriate counseling.
  • Genetic testing raises new challenges for privacy and the use and protection of patient information.

The position paper is intended to complement and provide more specificity to the guidance outlined in the ACP Ethics Manual. It was published July 26 by Annals of Internal Medicine.