Lived experiences of genetic diagnosis for rare disease patients: a qualitative interview study

Antonia Modelhart (Korresp. Autor*in), Dominique Sturz, Lydia Kremslehner, Barbara Prainsack

Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelPeer Reviewed


Background: Genetic diagnosis is often understood as a single event within the care pathway of rare disease patients. Legal, policy and ethical scholarship focusing on rare diseases and genetic information discusses questions of how to best deal with the process of genetic diagnosis and the communication of genetic information within a given health system. We co-created a research design with rare disease patients and their families in Austria to explore in-depth the experiences of genetic diagnosis for people affected by rare diseases. Our objective was to trace the whole pathway of genetic testing and understand how rare disease patients experience genetic diagnosis as part of their care pathway in the healthcare system. Results: Data was collected through in-depth semi-structured qualitative interviews with 14 patients with a suspected or diagnosed rare disease or their parents, focusing on their perception of the pathway of genetic diagnosis in Austria. This pathway included the initial triggering of genetic diagnosis, the process of testing and its immediate (communication of results, counselling) and long-term, wider aftermath. Patients missed a clear link to already established forms of care such as their primary care/treating physicians. They also advocate for an integrated and interdisciplinary care pathway. Conclusions: Our study underscores the importance of a continuous care and communication pathway spanning from the initial genetic diagnosis process to post-test phases. It further shows the importance of exploring patients’ perspectives through qualitative research methods to understand the intricate workings of public health policies and tools. Integrating genetic diagnosis into a broader care trajectory is crucial for a holistic approach to care for rare disease patients who often rely on regular interactions with the healthcare system. Achieving this holistic approach requires collaboration between experts in specific rare disease areas, primary care physicians, and support networks.

FachzeitschriftOrphanet Journal of Rare Diseases
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Dez. 2024

ÖFOS 2012

  • 504020 Medizinsoziologie