Balancing Technology with Face-to-Face Genetic Counseling

Banu Arun, MD, explains the potential risks of passive genetic counseling via videos or at-home tests. This video was filmed December 12 at the 2019 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Banu Arun, MD: As I mentioned, we are now increasingly using technology to deliver genetic services such as telephone counseling and 2-way video counseling. When we use these technologies, the genetic counselor or health care provider is still involved, and the patient can ask questions and the questions are answered. If we use the more advanced technology, such as chatbots for example, or web-based delivery where the patient watches a video, signs a consent, and a home spit kit is sent to the patient and she sends it out and sends it back for testing—It’s only one-sided. So, it’s a passive learning, the patient just watches the video and there is no dialogue or interaction. And she might or might not know what questions to ask.