We built a novel mock pharmacogenomics web portal to deliver pharmacogenomic information and results to patients. Utilizing a patient focus group, we then sought to understand patient insights on desired features of an effective pharmacogenomics patient portal.
The mock YourPGx Portal delivered four sample pharmacogenomic results (omeprazole, simvastatin, clopidogrel, and codeine). Patients from our existing institutional, prospective pharmacogenomics implementation study were recruited to pilot the mock portal and then asked to participate in a focus group discussion led by two facilitators. All patients had been previously genotyped, but none had been directly provided access to their own genotyping results and none had previously used the YourPGx portal. The focus group discussion explored nine domains: (1) factors influencing drug response, (2) concerns about drug effects, (3) understanding of genomics and pharmacogenomics, (4) reasons to undergo pharmacogenomic testing, (5) sources of pharmacogenomic information for patient education, (6) attributes of pharmacogenomic sources of information, (7) considerations about privacy and personal pharmacogenomic information, (8) sharing of pharmacogenomic information, and (9) features of an effective patient portal.
The median age of patients (n = 10) was 65.5 years old (range 38–72), 70% female, 50% Caucasian/30% Black, and 60% held a bachelor/advanced degree. When asked about resources for seeking pharmacogenomic information, patients preferred consulting their providers first, followed by self-education, then using information provided by university research organizations. A theme emerged regarding attributes of these sources, namely a desire for understandability and trust. Patients said that the effectiveness of a pharmacogenomics patient portal is improved with use of symbolisms/graphics and clear and concise content. Effective use of colors, quantifying information, consistency, and use of layperson’s language were additional important facets. Patients communicated the appeal of secured phone/app-enabled access and said that they would desire linking to their electronic medical records to allow sharing of information with different members of their healthcare team.
Patients named providers as their primary source of pharmacogenomic information, but a pharmacogenomics patient portal that is carefully constructed to incorporate desired features may be a favorable tool to effectively deliver pharmacogenomic information and results to patients.