Rapidly expanding eligibility criteria for genetic testing drives increased demand for genetic counseling services. Surging demand strains genetic counselors’ capacity and leads to long patient waiting lists. Cancer programs that resist innovative solutions to limited capacity risk hindering their genetic counseling program’s growth and reaching fewer patients who would benefit from the service.
St. Joseph Hospital, located in Orange, CA, is part of Providence St. Joseph Health, a large non-profit health system with 51 hospitals across 7 states. In December 2019, St. Joseph Hospital launched a walk-in genetic counseling clinic, and plan to implement the program to other hospitals in their system.
To keep up with an influx in volumes, genetic counselors at St. Joseph Hospital designed a streamlined alternative genetic testing pathway for a subset of patients. The program offers walk-in genetic counseling sessions, which are more efficient than conventional appointments, with a genetic counseling assistant.
St. Joseph Hospital’s genetic counselors can accommodate a 2-4x increase in patient volumes while reducing wait times. St. Joseph Hospital decreased the time between diagnosis and treatment start for breast cancer patients by embedding walk-in genetic counseling into biopsy visits.
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How St. Joseph Hospital designed a walk-in genetic counseling clinic