HSR&D Citation Abstract
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Exome sequencing disclosures in pediatric cancer care: Patterns of communication among oncologists, genetic counselors, and parents.
Scollon S, Majumder MA, Bergstrom K, Wang T, McGuire AL, Robinson JO, Gutierrez AM, Lee CH, Hilsenbeck SG, Plon SE, Parsons DW, Street RL. Exome sequencing disclosures in pediatric cancer care: Patterns of communication among oncologists, genetic counselors, and parents. Patient education and counseling. 2019 Apr 1; 102(4):680-686.
To examine communication patterns and behaviors during disclosure of exome sequencing (ES) results to parents of pediatric cancer patients, and describe common themes in parental communication.
Using mixed methods, we analyzed transcripts of sessions where parents of pediatric cancer patients received ES results from an oncologist and genetic counselor. Seventy-six transcripts were analyzed for frequency of clinician information-giving, partnering-supportive talk, and active parent participation. A subset of 40 transcripts were analyzed using thematic content analysis.
Disclosures consisted mostly of clinician talk (84% of total talk), which was focused on providing information (62% of clinicians' utterances) with occasional partnering-supportive talk (7% of clinicians' utterances). Most parents assumed a passive, listening role (16% of total talk). Themes in parental communication included expressing relief and the significance of an answer, concern about sharing results and responsibility for inheritance, and seeking clarification of health implications of results.
Our finding of low levels of active parent participation during ES disclosures highlights the need to improve patient/parent engagement and understanding in a genetic setting.
Clinician communication strategies that could encourage parent participation and understanding include checking for parent understanding, partnership-building, and tailoring ES discussions to address parent concerns and preferences.