Medicine & Pharmacology, Obstetrics & Gynaecology; cell-free DNA analysis; genetic counseling; noninvasive prenatal screening; prenatal screening; results delivery; telehealth
Background: As noninvasive prenatal screening usage grows in the general obstetrics setting, proper patient education on the screen’s benefits and limitations is needed.
Objective: Describe the use of a technology platform designed for large-scale dissemination of noninvasive prenatal screening information and results.
Study Design: The technology platform functioned as follows: Patients were emailed a link to an noninvasive prenatal screening general-education video upon laboratory receipt of a test requisition. Providers were then notified upon availability of patients’ results. If noninvasive prenatal screening results were negative, the patient was sent an automated email with instructions to access results through a secure portal where she could watch tailored informational videos, request “on-demand” or scheduled genetic counseling, or decline any further services. If genetic counseling was elected, a summary of the session was sent to the ordering provider and patient upon completion. If noninvasive prenatal screening results were positive, either the ordering provider or a board-certified genetic counselor contacted the patient directly to communicate test results and provide counseling. The number and type of results issued through the platform, the number and type of genetic counseling consultations completed, and factors associated with requesting laboratory-delivered genetic counseling were tracked and analyzed for a 39-month period.
Results: Over the study period, 67,122 noninvasive prenatal screening results were issued through the platform, and 4,673 patients elected genetic counseling consultations; 95.2% (n=4,450) of consultations were for patients receiving negative results. Over 70% (n= 3,370) of consultations were on-demand rather than scheduled. Median consultation time was 14 minutes for positive results and six minutes for negative results. A positive screen, advanced maternal age, family history, previous history of a pregnancy with a chromosomal abnormality, and other high-risk pregnancy were associated with the greatest odds of electing laboratory-delivered genetic counseling.
Conclusions: By combining web education, automated notifications, and genetic counseling, we implemented a service that effectively facilitates results disclosure for ordering providers. These data demonstrate the capability to deliver noninvasive prenatal screening results, education, and counseling—congruent with management guidelines—to a large population, which is imperative to quality care as uptake increases.