As a responsible healthcare provider, you may have questions about ThinkGenetic and its credibility. Is this just Dr. Google on steroids? The short answer is NO and below we highlight how our tools could benefit your practice and patients.
At the highest level, ThinkGenetic’s goal is to help healthcare providers identify individuals at risk of having a genetic condition. As part of this goal, ThinkGenetic supports the important patient-physician relationship by helping patients understanding genetic conditions and how they cause health issues. We believe that people have the power within themselves to work with their doctors to shorten their diagnostic odyssey. ThinkGenetic helps individuals harness this power by offering trustworthy information to guide them to the help they need, faster and begin a dialogue with their healthcare team.
Founded by a genetic counselor, a patient advocate, and an IT professional, ThinkGenetic has the rare ability to combine modern machine learning with practical information in genetics.
The two core missions of our work are:
- To decrease the time to diagnosis for patients living with undiagnosed genetic diseases
- To provide diagnosed patients and their care team with practical, actionable resources on genetic diseases.
By using artificial intelligence (AI) solutions combined with the brain power of talented genetic specialists, ThinkGenetic can focus on uncovering underlying genetic causes of medical issues and provide that information in an understandable format. Each of our tools are designed to help open a dialogue between patient and provider about a potential genetic condition and then better understand the path to possible diagnosis.
Our guided diagnostic tool, SymptomMatcher, is available for free on our website for use by patients or providers. At the conclusion of use, the tool provides a healthcare provider-focused electronic (or printable) focused summary outlining the self-reported patient symptoms and highlight facts about any genetic conditions found in the differential entered through our algorithms.
In addition, we have patient-focused educational information and provider-focused summaries about genetic conditions. These reports provide fast access to important pieces of information about natural history, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, patient resources, and centers of excellence able to be consulted about a genetic condition.
In more recent news, we are piloting healthcare provider focused solutions that work as “Early Genetic Warning Systems” within electronic medical records (EMR).
What Makes ThinkGenetic a Credible Resource?
While ThinkGenetic started with a patient advocate and a board certified genetic counselor the team has grown to include dozens of contributors, collaborators and advisors from all across the medical community. Genetic counselors, medical geneticists, pharmacists, physicians, and patient advocacy groups are all part of our program. Our solutions and tools are based on content written and reviewed by this specialized community. Published content is referenced to peer reviewed articles for further investigation and to verify content validity to users. Content is re-reviewed for accuracy and relevance regularly as new information in genetics is ever expanding and new disease focused therapies are approved by the FDA frequently. In addition, we continue to test our tools for accuracy and trustworthiness for patients and their healthcare providers through disease specific pilot studies, as well as formalized efficacy studies. 1, 2, 3, 4
How Can ThinkGenetic be Used by Physicians?
There are many ways our tools and resources can be utilized by a healthcare team. Some examples include:
- Accessing web-based information on specific genetic conditions using our Disease Knowledge Base
- Use the web-based SymptomMatcher Tool and associated healthcare provider summary sheet as an intake form to learn about possible underlying genetic causes
- Join the Genetic Risk Pre-Screening Tool “Early Genetics Warning System” pilot for specific conditions in electronic medical records
- Help direct patients to resources using ThinkGenetic’s web-based patient education and resources
- Use the “Ask the ThinkGenetic Counselor” feature on the website to ask about available resources or information for a particular condition. Please note: ThinkGenetic Counselors do not provide medical advice or genetic counseling for patients through this service, just resources and information.
- Request custom training or care days for you and your team to expand knowledge about genetic conditions
How Does ThinkGenetic Protect Patient Information?
ThinkGenetic understands how important the privacy of personal information is to our users and although we are not a HIPAA covered entity, we do protect health information using reasonable security measures. Users are able to access the site without creating a ThinkGenetic account or sharing any personal information. We have put in place technical, physical, and administrative safeguards to protect the Personal Information that we do collect. If a user chooses to create a ThinkGenetic account or share information about their health, we encrypt the transmission of that information or use SSL connections (Secure Socket Layer) technology. Read more about how we secure information here.
How Does ThinkGenetic Interact with Patients?
We see firsthand that people can wait a long time to receive a genetic diagnosis. While nothing ever replaces the importance of the patient physician relationship, we believe people also have the power within themselves to shorten their diagnostic odyssey too. ThinkGenetic helps individuals harness this power by offering trustworthy information to guide them to the help they need, faster and begin a dialogue with their healthcare team. Undiagnosed individuals, patients, and families are our focus and this sets us apart.
We do not provide medical advice or genetic counseling at ThinkGenetic. We do have consumer focused educational information about genetic conditions, the “Ask the ThinkGenetic counselor” contact option, and a guided diagnostic tool called SymptomMatcher available for free on our website. Each of these tools are designed to help the consumer/patient open the conversation about genetic diagnosis with their healthcare provider and better understand the path to possible diagnosis.
Question? Suggestions? Partnership?
Have a resource we missed? Want to try out one of our solutions in your clinic or hospital? Have a suggestion or question? Please reach out to the ThinkGenetic team, reach out by filling out this form.
1The future is now: Technology’s impact on the practice of genetic counseling. Gordon ES, Babu D, Laney DA. Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet. 2018 Mar;178(1):15-23. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.c.31599. Epub 2018 Mar 7. PMID: 29512937
2ThinkGenetic: identification of misinformation and educational gaps using an innovative and interactive website MF Simmons, DA Laney – Molecular Genetics and Metabolism, 2017 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ymgme.2016.11.320
3Determining the disease-specific knowledge gaps in patients, family members, and caregivers living with lysosomal diseases. G Loucopoulos, D Laney, M Simmons, D Babu, K Garber, C Bellcross. Molecular Genetics and Metabolism 126 (2), S95 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ymgme.2018.12.237
4 ThinkGenetic: A pilot project to create an educational website/application providing increased access to information on accurate natural history, diagnosis, and treatment information with treatable genetic disorders to healthcare providers. DA Laney, M Simmons Molecular Genetics and Metabolism 123 (2), S82 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ymgme.2017.12.209