In a recent paper, researchers have reported views and perceptions of personalised medicine from underrepresented patients.
In simple terms, pharmacogenomics uses an individual’s genetic makeup to assess their potential response to medication and to ultimately tailor the delivery of healthcare. Pharmacogenomic testing is increasingly becoming integrated into clinical care to improve drug prescribing, reduce drug inefficacy and avoid adverse drug events.
In previous studies, researchers have found that pharmacogenomics can have a positive effect on patient perceptions of personalised care and other dimensions of the doctor-patient relationship. Understanding patients’ experiences with pharmacogenomics is important to determine the clinical utility of genomic medicine. Nonetheless, public willingness to participate in such research varies across demographic groups. For example, African Americans, who are at greater risk for experiencing health disparities, have been largely underrepresented in pharmacogenomic studies.
Exploring views and perceptions of pharmacogenomic programs
In a study, published in npj Genomic Medicine, researchers explored the views and perceptions of care received among genotyped White and Black patients who participated in a large pharmacogenomic implementation program. In total, the team surveyed 463 outpatients who completed pre-emptive pharmacogenomic testing.
The team found that an overwhelming number of Black participants wanted a greater role for their genetic information in their clinical care. However, the researchers also found that Black patients were less confident about whether they were receiving personalised care from their providers. Both groups reported that their providers asked their opinions regarding medication changes. However, White patients were more likely to discuss the impact of their genetic makeup on medication responses with their providers, and Black patients reported that these discussions were initiated less frequently.
Overall, these findings emphasise the opportunities that exist for enhanced communication with underrepresented patients around personalised care. In fact, it is likely that there will be an increased demand for effective communication as electronic patient portals evolve and patient access increases. As a result, it is important that tailored communication strategies and support tools are developed that can be employed in diverse healthcare settings. This in turn will help to ensure that pharmacogenomic programs benefit all populations.
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