Attitudes of Australian health professionals towards rapid genomic testing in neonatal and paediatric intensive care.


Australian Genomics Health Alliance, Melbourne, Australia. [Email]


We investigated the attitudes of intensive care physicians and genetics professionals towards rapid genomic testing in neonatal and paediatric intensive care units (NICU/PICU). A mixed-methods study (surveys and interviews) was conducted at 13 Australian hospitals and three laboratories involved in multi-center implementation of rapid genomic testing. We investigated experience and confidence with genomic tests among intensivists; perceived usefulness of genomic diagnostic results; preferences for service delivery models; and implementation readiness among genetic services. The overall survey response rate was 59%, 47% for intensivists (80/170), and 75% (91/121) for genetics professionals. Intensivists reported moderate confidence with microarray tests and lower confidence with genomic tests. The majority of intensivists (77%), clinical geneticists (87%) and genetic counsellors (82%) favoured a clinical genetics-led service delivery model of genomic testing. Perceived clinical utility of genomic results was lower in the intensivist group compared to the genetics professionals group (20 v 50%, p < 0.001). Interviews (n = 6 intensivists; n = 11 genetic counselors) demonstrated support for implementation, with concerns relating to implementation environment and organizational readiness. Overall, our findings support initial implementation of genomic testing in NICU/PICU as part of an interdisciplinary service delivery model that promotes gradual adoption of genomics by the intensive care workforce while ensuring safety, sustainability, and efficiency.