Genetic testing is in the spotlight this month. Genetic screening companies are looking to go mainstream, police are looking to genetic testing companies to find criminals, and companies have begun adding genetic testing as a benefit differentiator to recruit and secure top talent.
Some experts argue that employer offered genetic testing encourages preventative care and will catch potentially life threatening diseases. Others believe it will encourage panic and false positives resulting in further unnecessary testing and medical expenses. On one hand, healthcare professionals want to empower consumers to take control of their health. However, the controversy lies in if the general population is responsible and educated enough for the widespread adoption of genetic testing results.
In our vlog, “The Rise & Risks Of DTC Genetic Testing“, Bill Gadless, President of emagine, shares his insights on:
- The role of artificial intelligence in genetic testing
- Benefit trends among employers
- The potential downside of widespread availability
Last week police were able to track down the Golden State Killer matching his DNA to that of distant relatives who had used a genetic testing kit widely available to consumers online and then published their results on GEDmatch, an open platform for sharing genetic results. TechCrunch reported that, “Both 23andMe and Ancestry require law enforcement to create a legal request in the form of a search warrant or a court order before accessing any specific genetic or personal information.” At this moment, CNBC is conducting polls to see if consumers would consent to having their DNA be a part of a database to help solve crimes. Once again, we’re seeing the intersection of healthcare and data privacy in ways we never have before.
On the employer front, corporations on West Coast have been the first to adopt genetic testing as an employee benefit. As pioneers in this employee perk, we’re bound to see how this new benefit will impact healthcare costs, preventive health, recruitment & retention, and consumer empowerment in the near future.