WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER GENOMIC TESTING?
If patients are entitled to their own DNA, shouldn’t they have easy and direct access to the data? For the reasons stated above, it is important that the information be delivered in a responsible fashion. Many experts feel that this can only be accomplished in live consultation with an expert. It seems plausible, however, to educate people with an online mini-course, similar to the training courses required by many institutions regarding important topics such as sexual harassment or working with human subjects. For such a “genomic test interpretation” training course, there likely would be the educational content, along with quizzes to assess competence and a questionnaire to gauge the level of information that the subject desires to be reported back.
What if an individual cheats and has someone else take the training course in their place? The answer is obvious—such individuals assume the consequences of the information that they receive, even if it is not what they wanted to hear. And with newer privacy efforts, such as biometric scans for logging into computers or websites, it may be possible in the near future to make such cheating more difficult.