Ann Lab Med 2020; 40(3): 232-237
Genetic Counseling Status and Perspectives Based on a 2018 Professional Survey in Korea
Jieun Kim, M.D., Ph.D.1, Sun-Young Kong, M.D., Ph.D.2,3, Sung-Hee Han, M.D., Ph.D.4, Jong-Won Kim, M.D., Ph.D.5, Chang Ho Jeon, M.D., Ph.D.6, and Jongha Yoo, M.D., Ph.D.7
1Department of Laboratory Medicine, Soonchunhyang University Seoul Hospital, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea; 2Department of Cancer Biomedical Science, National Cancer Center Graduate School of Cancer Science and Policy, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Korea; 3Department of Laboratory Medicine, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Korea; 4BioCore Co. Ltd., Division of Biotechnology, Yongin, Korea; 5Department of Laboratory Medicine and Genetics, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea; 6Department of Laboratory Medicine, Daegu Catholic Medical Center, Daegu, Korea; 7Department of Laboratory Medicine, National Health Insurance Service, Ilsan Hospital, Goyang, Korea
Corresponding author: Jongha Yoo, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Laboratory Medicine, National Health Insurance Service, Ilsan Hospital, 100 Ilsan-ro, Ilsandong-gu, Goyang 10444, Korea
Tel: +82-31-900-0909 Fax: +82-31-900-0925 E-mail:
Received: July 5, 2019; Revised: August 20, 2019; Accepted: November 18, 2019; Published online: May 1, 2020.
© Korean Society for Laboratory Medicine. All rights reserved.

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Background: Genetic counseling (GC) provides many benefits, including the identification of patients appropriate for testing, patient education, and medical management. We evaluated the current status of and challenges faced by GC practitioners in Korean hospitals.
Methods: An electronic survey was designed and conducted in 52 certified laboratory physicians belonging to the Korean Society of Laboratory Medicine, from August to September 2018. The questionnaires addressed three main categories of information: (1) current status of GC in hospitals; (2) essential qualifications of GC practitioners; and (3) challenges and perspectives for GC. Fisher’s exact test was applied to analyze categorical data.
Results: Among a total of 52 participants who initially responded, 12 (23.1%) were performing GC either by direct or indirect care. GC clinics were opened regularly for one (33.3%) or more than three sessions (25.0%) per week; most respondents spent more time for pre-visit activities than in-person visits, both for a initial visit patient and for a follow-up visit patient. All laboratory physicians provided genetic information to their patients. Most recommended family genetic testing when indicated (91.7%), discussed disease management (75.0%), and/or ordered additional genetic testing (58.3%), and some referred patients to other specialists (8.3%).
Conclusions: Both patients and laboratory physicians concede the advantage of GC performed by clinical geneticists; however, the practice of GC involves several challenges and raises some concerns. The cost and support required to implement GC need to be addressed in order to provide qualified GC in Korea.
Keywords: Genetic counseling, Genetic testing, Laboratory physician, Survey

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