“Who Doesn’t Like Receiving Good News?” Perspectives of Individuals Who Received Genomic Screening Results by Mail

Annika T. Beck, Erica J. Sutton, Carolyn P.Y. Chow, Susan H. Curtis, Iftikhar J. Kullo, Richard R. Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As genomic sequencing expands to screen larger numbers of individuals, offering genetic counseling to everyone may not be possible. One approach to managing this limitation is for a genetic counselor to communicate clinically actionable results in person or by telephone, but report other results by mail. We employed this approach in a large genomic implementation study. In this paper, we describe participants’ experiences receiving genomic screening results by mail. We conducted 50 semi-structured telephone interviews with individuals who received neutral genomic screening results by mail. Most participants were satisfied receiving neutral results by mail. Participants generally had a good understanding of results; however, a few participants had misunderstandings about their genomic screening results, including mistaken beliefs about their disease risk and the comprehensiveness of the test. No one reported plans to alter health behaviors, defer medical evaluations, or take other actions that might be considered medically problematic. Reporting neutral results by mail is unlikely to cause recipients distress or generate misunderstandings that may result in reduced vigilance in following recommended preventive health strategies. Nonetheless, some individuals may benefit from additional genetic counseling support to help situate their results in the context of personal concerns and illness experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number322
JournalJournal of Personalized Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Ethical
  • Genetic counseling
  • Genomic screening
  • Legal
  • Neutral genetic results
  • Patient communication
  • Return of results
  • Social issues

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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