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Florida Health System Offers Free DNA Testing

A health system in Orlando is offering its members free DNA testing, the Associated Press reports. It adds that while the test will search patients' results to identify individuals at an increased risk of developing cardiac conditions, their data could also be used in other ways.

AdventHealth, the health system, is partnering with Helix for its WholeMe program, which will not only analyze whether patients are at risk of familial hypercholesterolemia, but also other traits like lactose tolerance and caffeine metabolism. Any positive FH results, AdventHealth notes on its webpage, will be confirmed through additional testing, and patients will be connected to a genetic counselor and a cardiologist.

AdventHealth says the data it collects will also be used in research as it expands its genomics program, though researchers will have to seek consent from patients for additional work, according to the AP. Mildred Cho, a bioethicist at Stanford University, warns that patients should be made aware of how their data may be used, it adds.

The health system plans to eventually expand the program across its full range, which encompasses nine states, the AP says.