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Facilitating genomic testing: new courses and resources

Are you accessing genomic testing for the first time? Try our new collection of online learning designed to prepare health professionals offering a genomic test to patients

Through the NHS Genomic Medicine Service (GMS) in England, more healthcare professionals than ever before will be able to access genomic testing for their patients for the first time. To prepare the workforce for the service and the influence it will have on the diagnosis, treatment and management of a variety of conditions, the Genomics Education Programme (GEP) has developed a series of supporting courses and resources.

Two competency frameworks, five short courses and numerous supporting resources have been designed to offer best-practice guides to help healthcare professionals prepare to offer genomic tests, address patient questions or concerns, consider the ethical aspects of genomic testing, and deliver results to patients and their families.

Cross-professional frameworks

The two competency frameworks have been developed in collaboration with healthcare professionals across the NHS and are designed to be used by individual practitioners or healthcare educators as a guide to help identify training needs prior to requesting genomic testing or discussing any test results.

  • Facilitating Genomic Testing: This competency framework identifies eight areas of expertise to facilitate and consent patients to genomic tests. Each competency is provided with links to supporting evidence-based educational resources. There are also links to general resources and real-life case studies that may be helpful when using the framework.
  • Returning Genomic Results: This competency framework focuses on the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to communicate the results of a genomic test, as this can be a complex and challenging time for patients and family members.

Flexible online courses

Accompanying the competency frameworks is a series of five flexible online courses, available on the e-Learning for Healthcare platform and free for NHS staff and those at university. Each course focuses on a particular area of genomic testing to consider:

Introduction to Offering Genomic Tests: This short course provides key information to consider when requesting and offering a genomic test to your patients and their family members.

Data and Sample Management in the NHS Genomic Medicine Service: This course gives learners an overview of the types of data and samples that may be used in the NHS GMS through the process of requesting, sequencing, analysing and reporting a genomic test.

Discussing Diagnostic Germline Genomic Tests: Learners in this course will consider the key background information to cover with patients when explaining germline genomic tests from single gene to whole exome and genome sequencing.

Discussing Targeted Germline Genomic Tests: This course provides key information to cover with patients when discussing targeted germline genomic tests, such as testing for a specific pathogenic variant, to enable informed patient choice.

The National Genomic Research Library: Designed to educate learners on the key details around the new National Genomic Research Library, this course will cover how the library is governed and accessed, and how it is linked to the NHS Genomic Medicine Service.

Supporting resources

Finding a genomic cause: the clinician’s role

As greater numbers of clinicians refer their patients for genomic testing, it is important they have an awareness of the variant filtering process, coupled with an understanding of the level of information they need to provide when ordering the test to give the best chance of achieving a result. This new resource, ‘Finding a genomic cause: the clinician’s role, is now available and provides a summary of the process and highlights the factors that the healthcare professional can influence as well as those they cannot.

The GMS hub

Supplementing the courses is our GMS hub, which features in-depth information and at-a-glance guides to genomic testing, as well as a range of useful resources for educators.