Effectiveness of educational intervention types to improve genomic competency in non-geneticist medical doctors: A systematic review of the literature

Roberta Pastorino, Giovanna Elisa Calabrò, Tyra B.M. Lagerberg, Maria Benedetta Michelazzo, Stefania Boccia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Given rapid advances in genomics, continuing medical education of medical doctors (MDs) is crucial to ensure appropriate integration of human genome discoveries into healthcare and disease prevention. This work presents a systematic review of educational interventions aimed at improving genomic competency in non-geneticist MDs, with consideration of how outcomes are affected by intervention type (face-to-face learning, distance learning, decision aids, or information provision). Methods: We performed a systematic search of MEDLINE, ISI Web of Science, and SCOPUS databases for the relevant studies on educational interventions and genomic competency, published in English between January 1st, 2001 and March 31st, 2017. We evaluated the effect of education on knowledge, management and confidence related to genomics (“genomic competency”), and we compared the outcomes between different intervention types. No meta-analysis was conducted, and results were presented narratively. Results: We included sixteen studies assessing different educational interventions. The majority of studies reported significant effects on at least one component of genomic competency, in particular confidence outcomes. While many of the interventions cited positive self-reported changes in clinical application of genomic knowledge, there was no evidence of a statistically significant impact in the majority of studies that used objective measures to quantify clinical practice outcomes. Conclusion: The majority of included studies reported a positive impact of genomic education on at least one component of non-geneticist MDs’ genomic competency. However, no clear conclusion can be drawn given the heterogeneity of the studies in terms of methods, intervention types, and outcome measurements. Future studies considering the effectiveness of interventions with a focus on long-term outcomes across national contexts are recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e12657-1-e12657-8
JournalEpidemiology Biostatistics and Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Community and Home Care
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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