Evolving Roles and Scopes of Practice for Health Care Professionals

The mainstreaming of precision medicine and genetic testing across health conditions and health systems may lead to evolving roles and scopes of practice for many health care professionals. Many health care professionals who have not traditionally had direct contact with precision medicine are finding themselves adapting to ordering, interpreting, and/or consulting with patients about genetic tests. With the rapid pace of innovation within precision medicine technologies, limited formal training in precision medicine, and lack of clarity in roles, health care professionals report experiencing challenges in determining who orders tests (and at which point), who interprets the results, and who helps the patient navigate their treatment journey.

There is an opportunity to clarify the roles and responsibilities of various health care professionals in delivering precision medicine to support the efficient and seamless delivery of services across the continuum of care.

Examples of opportunities that may address issues relating to roles and scope of practice include:

  • Reviewing workflow and roles and responsibilities in genetic testing: For example, Cancer Care Ontario and Ontario Health’s Enhancing Clinical Cancer Genetic Service Delivery reviewed the provision of genetic services in Ontario and identified opportunities to shift tasks and responsibilities to ensure health professionals were able to optimize their expertise and training.
  • Support and training for health care professionals in precision medicine: For example, the Canadian Nursing & Genomics initiative is supporting the integration of genomic medicine into nursing practice by considering the role of nurses and engaging nurses in developing a training strategy.

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