A systematic review of geographical inequities for accessing clinical genomic and genetic services for non-cancer related rare disease

Stephanie Best, Nada Vidic, Kim An, Felicity Collins, Susan M. White

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Place plays a significant role in our health. As genetic/genomic services evolve and are increasingly seen as mainstream, especially within the field of rare disease, it is important to ensure that where one lives does not impede access to genetic/genomic services. Our aim was to identify barriers and enablers of geographical equity in accessing clinical genomic or genetic services. We undertook a systematic review searching for articles relating to geographical access to genetic/genomic services for rare disease. Searching the databases Medline, EMBASE and PubMed returned 1803 papers. Screening led to the inclusion of 20 articles for data extraction. Using inductive thematic analysis, we identified four themes (i) Current service model design, (ii) Logistical issues facing clinicians and communities, (iii) Workforce capacity and capability and iv) Rural culture and consumer beliefs. Several themes were common to both rural and urban communities. However, many themes were exacerbated for rural populations due to a lack of clinician access to/relationships with genetic specialist staff, the need to provide more generalist services and a lack of genetic/genomic knowledge and skill. Additional barriers included long standing systemic service designs that are not fit for purpose due to historically ad hoc approaches to delivery of care. There were calls for needs assessments to clarify community needs. Enablers of geographically equitable care included the uptake of new innovative models of care and a call to raise both community and clinician knowledge and awareness to demystify the clinical offer from genetics/genomics services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-652
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Human Genetics
Volume30
Issue number6
Early online date20 Jan 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

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