I practice with MindPath Care Centers, one of the largest privately owned psychiatric private practices in the country. We have 30 sites across North Carolina, including the largest telemedicine platform in the state. I want to be a voice of hope for those who feel hopeless.
I look at a patient’s whole picture in making an assessment — you have to use your clinical judgement and employ an evidence-based approach. There are many treatment options — therapy, TMS, medication and naturalistic approaches including diet, meditation or exercise. It is important to weigh risks and benefits that make sense for each patient.
When treating with psychotropic medications, trial and error can disrupt the trust between patient and doctor. Severe side effects can cause harm – and as doctors we want to do no harm. For patients, after three or four failed trials, they can become demoralized that no medication can help get them back to the life they love.
GeneSight Transformed My Practice
I learned about genetic testing during med school. After I started to practice, I heard specifically about the GeneSight test. It has made a huge difference with my patients and completely transformed my practice.
If I need to choose a psychotropic medication, my goal is to help patients gain a solid understanding of what the medication is supposed to do, and what to expect. The GeneSight test gives me a window into my patients’ genetics and helps me explain to the patient why they may not metabolize a medication well. It has really helped inform my treatment plan.
The results of clinical studies on the GeneSight test speak for themselves particularly when you look at patients that have moved from red to green or yellow bin medications. I have seen it in my own practice. That’s why I lean heavily in using the GeneSight test earlier rather than later with a patient.
GeneSight Direct-to-Patient Kit Helps with Telemedicine
I see patients both in person and through telehealth appointments. Some of my patients live in different cities and some patients simply do not want to come to my office due to COVID restrictions.
Now, with GeneSight’s Patient Collection Kit, having a kit sent directly to a patient to self-administer the test works seamlessly. They are pleased and appreciative they don’t have to leave their homes to do it.
To order a test, I just enter the information in the online portal at the end of an appointment and click “send to patient.” It’s just as easy as ordering simple lab work online.
On the patient side, they receive a packet with clear instructions for collecting their DNA via cheek swab, easy-to-complete patient information forms, and a pre-addressed and pre-paid envelope that they can drop off at any FedEx location. I have not had any issues with delayed test results from insufficient genetic material, which might happen if a patient didn’t swab properly.
In reviewing a GeneSight report with a telehealth patient, I share my screen and go line by line explaining what the results mean, and how we use it clinically. It is a very useful tool in developing a good patient/doctor relationship and building trust. When we do this together, patients have more buy in and are more conscientious in staying with it.
In a post-COVID world, I expect to see more patients in my office. However, telehealth appointments are here to stay and connect me with patients in ways I never could have before. The direct-to-patient kit means they, too, can easily have the benefit of a GeneSight test.
This story is one clinician’s personal experience. Other experiences may vary.
As with all genetic tests, the GeneSight test results have limitations and do not constitute medical advice. The test results are designed to be just one part of a larger, complete patient assessment, which would include proper diagnosis and consideration of medical history, other medications being taken, family history, and other factors.
If you are a healthcare provider and interested in learning more about the GeneSight test, please call us at 855.891.9415. If you are a patient, please talk with your doctor to see if the GeneSight test may be helpful.