Hayes Executive Joins International Who’s Who of Medical Professionals in Highlighting Inconsistencies in Genetic Testing

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Challenges with genetic testing exacerbated by aggressive direct-to-consumer advertising

Hayes, Inc., an independent health technology research and consulting company dedicated to promoting better health outcomes, today announced that Dr. Diane Allingham-Hawkins, Director of its Genetic Test Evaluation Program, is a member of a team of international thought leaders that published an authoritative textbook on issues in genetic testing.

The textbook, published earlier this year by Springer Science+Business Media, is entitled Quality Issues in Clinical Genetic Services and includes contributions from an international field of medical professionals from countries such as Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, France, Ireland, Portugal, and the United States.

Dr. Allingham-Hawkins, in collaboration with Dr. Martin Somerville, contributed a chapter titled “Regulation of Genetic Testing/Service in Canada.” Dr. Somerville practices and teaches Medical Genetics and Pediatrics at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and is the current President of the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists (CCMG).

The chapter explores inconsistencies in the regulation of genetic testing in Canada, a problem that is exacerbated by issues such as the wide range of responsibilities for health services among federal and provincial/territorial ministries of health; the lack of overarching regulations or guidelines for quality assurance or delivery of genetic testing services throughout Canada; and varying levels of regulation in each Canadian jurisdiction. Drs. Allingham-Hawkins and Somerville recommend additional nationwide guidelines to ensure uniform minimum standards for quality and patient/consumer protection.

Dr. Allingham-Hawkins states, “Since the advent of genetic testing more than 20 years ago, healthcare professionals, payers, and government entities have struggled with how the information from these tests can be applied in a clinical setting to improve patient care. Unfortunately this problem persists today, resulting in limited acceptance of genetic testing in the healthcare arena. Quality Issues in Clinical Genetic Services highlights these continuing issues, and hopefully will serve as a catalyst for action around the world.”

Dr. Allingham-Hawkins went on to say, “Challenges with genetic testing are similar in the United States to those in Canada, but they are exacerbated by aggressive direct-to-consumer advertising by test developers. This creates demand for tests that in many cases have uncertain clinical utility and puts pressure on payers to fund this demand.”

Dr. Winifred Hayes, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hayes adds, “Hayes launched its Genetic Test Evaluation Program in 2008 under the leadership of Dr. Diane Allingham-Hawkins, and we are proud of her accomplishments as an international expert on issues in genetic testing. Her contribution to this seminal book on genetic testing validates her role as a healthcare industry thought leader and person of action.”

The book was conceptualized during a meeting at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), when several of the chapter contributors participated in the development of international guidelines for quality assurance in molecular genetic testing. Quality Issues in Clinical Genetic Services is available on the Springer website. Additional information on the Hayes Genetic Test Evaluation Service can be found at http://www.hayesinc.com.

Hayes, Inc. is an independent health technology research and consulting company dedicated to promoting better health outcomes through the use of evidence. The Hayes Genetic Test Evaluation (GTE) program cuts through the “genohype” to the scientific proof regarding the appropriate use of genetic and genomic tests in clinical practice. Currently, there are more than 2000 genetic and genomic tests for inherited and acquired disorders on the market in the United States. With an annual growth rate of 25%, this rapidly growing field has created challenges for healthcare professionals to respond quickly and appropriately to issues related to these tests. Hayes GTE conducts evidence-based assessments with clear, concise conclusions across a range of conditions and applications, including hereditary, cardiovascular, neurological, and developmental disorders, as well as oncology. http://www.hayesinc.com

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KAREN MATTHIAS
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