Was it worth it? Patients’ perspectives on the perceived value of genomic-based individualized medicine

Colin M.E. Halverson, Kristin E. Clift, Jennifer B. McCormick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The value of genomic sequencing is often understood in terms of its ability to affect diagnosis or treatment. In these terms, successes occur only in a minority of cases. This paper presents views from patients who had exome sequencing done clinically to explore how they perceive the utility of genomic medicine. The authors used semi-structured, qualitative interviews in order to study patients’ attitudes toward genomic sequencing in oncology and rare-disease settings. Participants from 37 cases were interviewed. In terms of the testing’s key values—regardless of having received what clinicians described as meaningful results—participants expressed four qualities that are separate from traditional views of clinical utility: Participants felt they had been empowered over their own health. They felt they had contributed altruistically to the progress of genomic technology in medicine. They felt their suffering had been legitimated. They also felt a sense of closure, having done everything they could. Patients expressed overwhelmingly positive attitudes toward sequencing. Their rationale was not solely based on the results’ clinical utility. It is important for clinicians to understand this non-medical reasoning as it pertains to patient decision-making and informed consent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-152
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Community Genetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Genetics(clinical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Was it worth it? Patients’ perspectives on the perceived value of genomic-based individualized medicine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this