National Physician Survey

Canadian-wide physician survey on personalized medicine adoption: is genetic testing being used today?

Cepmed has completed a Canada-wide physician survey aimed at understanding how genetic testing is currently being applied in medical practice and to identify factors affecting the adoption of personalized medicine in Canada.  This survey is the first in Canada to broadly explore the personalized medicine landscape.  The survey was developed and conducted by Cepmed in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers.  The results of the study identify specific needs within the medical community for the adoption of personalized medicine in Canada.

A total of 363 physicians responded to the survey from three targeted medical fields (43% of respondents in family medicine, 30% cardiologists, 27% oncologists).  The results demonstrate that the physicians believe

  • That knowledge of a patients genetic profile can impact treatment decisions and improve care
  • Education in personalized genetic testing is limited
  • Patients are asking about genetic testing
  • Physicians are not comfortable discussing genetic testing with patients
  • Key barriers to adoption are lack of guidelines and knowledge base of healthcare providers

To the benefit of all relevant stakeholders the results, analysis and outcome of the study is being openly and actively shared and discussed with the public and all stakeholders.  In July of  2011 the survey, ”Personalised medicine in Canada: a survey of adoption and practice in oncology, cardiology and family medicine” was published on BMJ Open.  Future Cepmed initiatives will be designed to address the needs identified by the study with the aim of improving the quality and efficiency of patient care in Canada.

A similar survey sponsored by Medco Research was completed in the US and published in 2009 Medco was successful in surveying 10, 303 US physicians and showed that while 98% of physicians surveyed agreed that genetic profiles may influence drug therapy, only 10% believe that they are adequately informed about genomic testing. A clear need for physician education in the US was identified.

A 2008 Canadian survey of the use of genetic testing in the treatment of cancer patients showed that 61 to 100% of those surveyed agreed that genetic testing is important for the treatment and diagnosis of cancer. Only 45 – 60% agreed that their patients were receiving genetic testing indicated as standard of care. Furthermore, 70% of physician surveyed perceived a lack of clear clinical guidelines for the use of genetic tests in the treatment of cancer (BMC Heath Services Research 2009, 9:131).