Genetic Counseling

School of Health and Human Sciences

An Evaluation of Genetic Counselor Use of Tablet Computers and Medical Applications in Clinic
Capstone Project Committee:
Chad Haldeman-Englert, MD, FACMG, Tara Stamper, MS, CGC, Randi Stewart, MS, CGC
Tablets and mobile medical applications (apps) are a growing trend in healthcare, with several studies showing increasing use by various health-care professionals. However, limited data is available on tablet use among genetic counselors. Therefore, we sought to explore genetic counselors’ use, attitudes and perceived barriers of tablet utilization in the clinical setting. Methods: Data from an online survey was collected in Qualtrics. Data was then analyzed in SPSS, using cross-tabulations, and MiniTab, using two-sample proportions. Open-ended responses were reviewed independently by two authors to identify emerging themes. Results: There were 177 eligible respondents, 50% of which have used a tablet for a work-related purpose at some point during their genetic counseling career. We found that interest among respondents focused on two main areas; tablet use for patient education (78%) and generation of pedigrees (71%). Barriers identified in this study included app overload and lack of institutional support. Discussion: Results indicated that tablet usefulness might depend upon sub-specialty and the unique characteristics of a clinical setting. As more information becomes available regarding the benefits of tablet usage in the clinical setting for both patients and providers, institutions might be more willing to support their integration into clinic. Furthermore, as more genetic counselors incorporate mobile technology into their practice, it could incentivize developers to designs apps specifically with genetic counseling in mind.
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