You might be an accomplished specialist in your medical field but how prepared are you for the next big wave in clinical medicine: genomics?

That’s the question Australian Genomics researchers have been asking in interviews and a national survey.

As a transformative technology, genomic testing presents new opportunities for doctors in relation to patient diagnosis and treatment. But most have not had specific training in this relatively new approach.

The researchers interviewed 86 medical specialists across Australia, across a broad range of career stages, specialities and locations.

They found that to feel prepared, medical specialists need to have opportunities to gain experience alongside formal education and training.

The findings were used to develop a survey tool to better understand medical specialists’ current practice, perceptions of how soon genomics will be part of their practice, perceptions of their preparedness, and their preferences for future practice and learning.

Two recent publications by the team describing this work and making the survey publicly available appear in the journal Frontiers in Genetics.

The authors are Belinda McClaren, Emily King, Amy Nisselle, Erin Crellin, Monika Janinski, Larissa Ng, Sylvia Metcalfe and Clara Gaff. The studies are two of many being conducted under Australian Genomics’ Workforce and Education program, the findings of which will help to build a skilled and genomic-literate workforce.

The survey has since been distributed to a national sample of medical specialists in Australia, has been adapted for use in oncology settings, and is planned for distribution in other countries to evaluate physician preparedness to practice genomic medicine internationally.

Those results will be available as publications later in 2020.

View results of interviews conducted with medical specialists: Preparing Medical Specialists for Genomic Medicine: Continuing Education Should Include Opportunities for Experiential Learning

View the survey tool: Development of an Evidence-Based, Theory-Informed National Survey of Physician Preparedness for Genomic Medicine and Preferences for Genomics Continuing Education