The more you do it, the easier it gets: using behaviour change theory to support health care professionals offering reproductive genetic carrier screening

Stephanie Best*, Janet C. Long, Zoe Fehlberg, Tahlia Theodorou, Sarah Hatem, Alison Archibald, Jeffrey Braithwaite

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Recent advances in genomic sequencing have improved the accessibility of reproductive genetic carrier screening (RGCS). As awareness and interest grows, non-genetic health care professionals are increasingly offering RGCS to consumers. We conducted a qualitative interview study informed by behaviour change theory to identify influences on health care professionals considered as ‘early adopters’ offering RGCS through Mackenzie’s Mission, an Australian national research study investigating the implementation of free RGCS to couple’s preconception or in early pregnancy. Interviews were deductively analysed using the Theoretical Domains Framework to examine barriers and enabling factors. In total, we interviewed 31 health care professionals, who were primarily general practitioners (n = 23) offering RGCS through Mackenzie’s Mission. Upon analysis, 15 barriers and 44 enablers to implementation were identified and categorised across three health care professional target behaviours 1. Engaging with RGCS, 2. Identifying eligible patients, and 3. Offering RGCS. Whilst all Theoretical Domains Framework domains were present, barriers were predominantly categorised as ‘Environmental Context and Resources’ e.g., lack of time, followed by ‘Knowledge’ e.g., lack of understanding about genetics and ‘Beliefs about Capabilities’ e.g., concern about giving high risk results to patients. Although health care professionals expressed a preference for offering RGCS through a comprehensive and supported model of care, such as Mackenzie’s Mission, barriers remain. By understanding what drives current health care professionals’ behaviour towards offering RGCS, behaviour change theory provides an avenue to direct future efforts based on evidence and improve service delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-444
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Human Genetics
Volume31
Issue number4
Early online date24 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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