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Remote Genetics

In some parts of the US, a medical geneticist is hard to come by, writes Dina Fine Maron at Scientific American. For instance, she notes that people living in Alaska have to wait for one to fly in from Oregon and people living in northern Maine have to drive some seven hours to reach the three working in the southern part of the state.

Some of these locales are turning to telegenetics, in which patients are connected to medical geneticists through a webcam connecting a local doctor's office to the geneticist's office, Maron writes, and a nurse or genetic counselor typically sits with the patient. Alaska and Idaho are looking into this option, she says, while Georgia and Kansas are already using it.

A clinical geneticist in Portland, Maine, currently reserves one day a month to meeting with telegenetics patients at a clinic that is five hours away from her and she is, Maron notes, in talks with a second clinic to offer telegenetics services there, too.