How to complete a record of discussion form
When undertaking any genomic test, it is vitally important to discuss the test, its implications and possible outcomes with the patient. This discussion, and the patient’s decisions, should be recorded.
With any test undertaken in medicine, it is important to speak with your patient or, where appropriate, their parent/guardian about the suggested investigation and any implications that might arise from the result, and gain their consent for the test.
In genomic medicine, this is an incredibly important discussion, given the potential impact of the results on the individual in question and possibly other members of their family.
There are also other considerations, which should be signposted in advance, such as uncertain or unexpected results, as well as data governance issues.
What is an RoD form?
For all genomic tests undertaken, a record of discussion (RoD) form will need to be completed to demonstrate this discussion has taken place. All forms will be available on your local Genomic Laboratory Hub (GLH) website. There may be slightly differing forms for different tests (there is a special form for whole genome sequencing, for example), but all should follow a standard structure.
You will need to complete an RoD form for every family member that is tested. For example, in a trio whole genome sequencing test, three RoD forms will need to be completed.
What is the usual structure?
Each form will comprise at least two sections:
- A series of statements that should be covered in the discussion between the patient or responsible person and clinician. This will comprise the following subsections:
- family and wider implications;
- unexpected information;
- DNA storage;
- data storage; and
- health records.
- A section where the patient and clinician complete demographic information and agree to the above statements.
In some cases, there will be a third section whereby the patient or responsible person can elect to participate in research.
How do I complete the form?
The forms can be completed digitally or by hand. You must ensure that the demographic information is complete and ensure this information is correct. If completing the form as part of a remote consultation, the clinician can sign the form on behalf of the patient.
In some cases, when the patient or responsible person is not able to complete the form, there may be situations where the clinician wishes to proceed in the best interests of the patient.
For an adult with learning difficulties, it is important to complete a Mental Capacity Act (MCA) assessment, to establish whether they have the capacity to consent to testing. Support in completing these forms can be provided by Trust safeguarding and adult learning support teams.
If a patient is of adult age and has capacity to consent, they must complete the form themselves. If the form is being completed on behalf of another person (such as a child who is not Gillick competent, or an adult who does not have capacity to consent), this must be recorded appropriately.
You must go through each section of the form, ensuring the patient understands each section and answering any questions generated.
Working through the sections of an RoD form
Some people will read through the form verbatim with their patient, or paraphrase as they get more confident. It is important to cover each section of the form, which is summarised in the table below.
|Family and wider implications
|“The results of my test may have implications for me and members of my family. I understand that my results may also be used to help the healthcare of members of my family and others nationally and internationally. This could be done in discussion with me or through a process that will not personally identify me.”||This section informs the patient that the results could reveal information relevant to family members. In such cases, we may need to pass information on to other family members or their clinicians.|
|“The results of my test may have findings that are uncertain and not yet fully understood. To decide whether findings are significant for myself or others, my data may be compared to other patients’ results across the country and internationally. I understand that this could change what my results mean for me and my treatment over time.”||We all carry variation within our genes that makes us different, and it can sometimes be difficult for scientists and clinicians to determine whether a specific variant is disease causing or part of normal variation. It is important to inform the patient that there could be a situation where the testing reveals a variant of uncertain significance (VUS), by which we mean that the clinical significance of a result is not yet known. This uncertainty can be challenging for patients, so it is important to signpost the possibility of delivering such a result.|
|“The results of my test may also reveal unexpected results that are not related to why I am having this test. These may be found by chance and I may need further tests or investigations to understand their significance.”||There is also a chance that a finding unrelated to the initial reason for testing is uncovered (an incidental finding) and it is important to inform the patient that this is a possibility. They would only be informed of incidental results that are clinically actionable, such as having implications for management or screening.|
|“Normal NHS laboratory practice is to store the DNA extracted from my sample even after my current testing is complete. My DNA might be used for future analysis and/or to ensure that other testing (for example that of family members) is of high quality.”||It is standard practice for genetic material to be stored by the local GLH. In cases where further testing is required, this DNA can be used – reducing need for further samples to be obtained and delays associated with this process. In cases where testing of other family members is indicated, this sample can also be used as a control.|
|“The data from my genomic test will be securely stored so that it can be looked at again in the future if necessary.”||As with storage of physical DNA samples, digital storage of genetic data is also becoming standard. This allows the team to re-examine the data if new information becomes available.|
|“Results from my genomic test will be part of my patient record, a copy of which is held in a national system only available to healthcare professionals.”||The information extracted from the genetic test will form part of the patient’s health records.|
|“I understand that I have the opportunity to take part in research, which may benefit myself or others, now or in the future. An offer to join a national research opportunity is available on the following page.”||Should the patient wish to participate in research, any research RoD forms should also be completed.|
How is the form different for WGS?
The RoD form for whole genome sequencing (WGS) tests differs slightly from the form for general genomic tests. You can access this form through your local GLH website.
The form follows the same points outlined above, though it contains a second consent form inviting patients to contribute to a research project called the National Genomic Research Library, which is managed by Genomics England (a publicly funded company owned by the Department of Health and Social Care). This is optional and does not affect a patient’s care should they not wish to participate.
What if the patient has questions or concerns?
Some individuals may have further questions about a particular section of the RoD form. It may be that your local GLH can assist or your local clinical genetics team may be able to provide advice. Guidance should be sought in accordance with the clinical urgency of the test in question.
I have completed the RoD form. What next?
A copy of this form should be retained in the patient records and a copy given to the patient for their records. The test order form should also be completed to accompany the patient sample to the testing laboratory.
- HEE Genomics Education Programme: Facilitating Genomic Testing online courses
- HEE Genomics Education Programme: National Genomic Research Library: information for clinicians
- HEE Genomics Education Programme: Requesting WGS: information for clinicians
- NHS England: Genomic Laboratory Hubs