Clinical genetics and genetic counselling provide vital information and support to individuals and families with a known or suspected genetic condition. Clinical genetics helps people understand their risk of developing inherited diseases, make informed decisions about genetic testing and manage potential health risks.  

Traditionally, genetic counselling has been an in-person service, which can present accessibility challenges for those living in remote areas. The rise of telehealth is revolutionising access to this specialised care. 

Who Can Benefit from Genetic Counselling? 

Here are some of the types of individuals who might seek genetic counselling: 

The Benefits of Telehealth for Genetic Services 

Telehealth consultations offer numerous advantages for patients seeking genetic counselling: 

Bridging Geographical Barriers: It eliminates the need for lengthy travel to specialised clinics, a major benefit for those in rural or remote regions. 

Increased Convenience: Virtual appointments allow for a more flexible schedule, fitting better into busy lives and reducing time away from work or family. 

Comfort Factor: Some individuals may feel more comfortable discussing sensitive genetic information in the privacy of their own homes. 

Enhanced Family Involvement: Telehealth makes it easier for family members located elsewhere to participate in consultations, providing valuable support and information. 

Mendel Genetics has clinical geneticists who are fully accredited by the Human Genetics Society of Australasia and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. They are leading the way in telehealth consultations, ensuring timely access to genetic expertise. Their statement, “We provide genetic consultations to regional and remote areas for people who have difficulties attending a capital city for a specialist appointment,” highlights their commitment to reducing geographic barriers. 

Important Considerations 

While telehealth offers significant advantages, there are limitations to consider: 

Technology Requirements: Reliable internet and computer or smartphone access are essential. 

Hands-on Assessment: Some physical examinations may still necessitate in-person visits. 

Counselling Dynamics: Some individuals might prefer the in-person connection with a clinical geneticist or genetic counsellor. 

Telehealth: The Future of Genetic Service Delivery 

Telehealth is rapidly becoming an integral part of genetic services, offering a vital lifeline for those seeking expert guidance from afar. While not a replacement for all in-person care, it significantly expands access, enabling more informed decisions and proactive health management for individuals and families affected by genetic conditions. 

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