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Just Another Test

With a stutter-start, genomic tools are finding their ways into sporadic use in the clinic, but when, Business Insider asks, will they be routinely employed?

One of the oft-mentioned stumbling blocks to the implementation of genomic medicine is that physicians need to be better educated about genetics, genomics, and how related tests can help their patients. But in a Science Translational Medicine piece this week, researchers led by Harvard Medical School's Robert Green say that while physicians report feeling unprepared for and have low confidence in their ability to fold genomic testing into patient care, they are as prepared for genomics as other technological advances.

"Time after time, a new innovation has come along in clinical care and when it actually reaches the point where [that innovation] is important in clinical care, [doctors] have the wherewithal to rise to the occasion," first author Jason Vassy from the VA Boston Healthcare System tells Business Insider.

And Business Insider notes that how each doctor uses genomic tools will vary — primary care physicians may use them to get a better handle on family history while ophthalmologists may focus on risk for eye disease.

While genetic exceptionalism suggests "genetic technology and information are inherently different from other routine processes," the STM authors note, "like any other medical test, most genetic testing is used for diagnosis, prognosis, and therapeutics."

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