Purpose: Rapid advances in the field of genetics are having a significant impact on healthcare. Most healthcare professionals are seeing clients that have genetic components to their diseases or conditions. Increasingly, healthcare professionals need information to appropriately refer clients to genetic services and to maintain confidentiality of genetic information. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of genetic advances on healthcare professionals.
Methods: A random sample survey of the membership of six professional associations for healthcare providers was conducted in 1998. Respondents were asked questions about demographics, work settings, client characteristics, provision of genetic services, job responsibilities, genetics education, and need for genetics education.
Results: The results indicate that healthcare professionals, including physical therapists, provide some genetic services but that they are not confident in providing those services. Physical therapists reported that they had limited education in genetics and that they thought more continuing education in genetics was a priority.
Conclusions: Professional associations like the APTA need to be aware of the need for genetics education for their members and to consider genetics education as a priority.