Medscape study in collaboration with 23andMe finds Primary Care Physicians are increasingly more comfortable with direct-to-consumer genetic health testing

NEW YORK and SUNNYVALE, Calif., Jan. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- A new report from Medscape, in collaboration with 23andMe, found that, compared to just two years ago, primary care physicians are significantly more comfortable with direct-to-consumer genetic health testing for their patients.

"This study highlights a significant shift in how primary care physicians view DTC genetic health testing."

Medscape surveyed 1,000 primary care physicians (PCPs) to measure their attitudes toward direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic health testing, and compared results to a similar survey conducted in 2018. The report found PCPs are more than twice as likely to be comfortable discussing benefits, risks and limitations of genetic health testing, as well as interpreting and discussing results of a genetic test, than they were two years ago.

The report also found 80 percent of PCPs are open or likely to recommend DTC genetic testing for health if asked about it by their patients, and for 61 percent of PCPs, FDA oversight of health reports was a necessary element of any DTC genetic test they might recommend.

"This study highlights a significant shift in how primary care physicians view DTC genetic health testing," said L. Okey Onyejekwe Jr., MD, JD, Vice President of Healthcare Operations and Medical Affairs at 23andMe. "In just two year's time, the data show PCPs are much more accepting, and in some cases wholeheartedly embracing this type of testing, especially tests that include health reports with FDA oversight. As more consumers turn to DTC genetic testing for health insights into their genome, it's encouraging to see that PCPs are much more open to patients bringing their test results into the clinic for further discussion and potential follow up testing when warranted."

When it comes to all genetic testing, not just DTC genetic testing, 71 percent of PCPs are comfortable making appropriate referrals to specialists based on genetic information, compared to 44 percent in 2018. Further, 46 percent of PCPs are comfortable ordering genetic testing, a four-fold increase from 2018, and 41 percent are comfortable using genetic information to make treatment decisions, a two-fold increase over 2018.

"The shift in the primary care community's point of view on genetic testing over a relatively short period of time is striking, and points to the tests results having greater utility and impact in patient care," said Hansa Bhargava, M.D., Medscape Senior Medical Director. "We are pleased that we could contribute to increasing awareness of the role of genetic testing in the primary care environment."


This report was completed by 1,000 U.S. primary care physicians on the Medscape platform between August 26, 2020 and September 14, 2020. Ninety percent of respondents practice Family or Internal medicine and respondents have practiced an average of 19 years. Respondents were invited to respond to the online survey. The margin of error at a 95% confidence level is +/- 3.0%. The report is a follow-up to a 2018 report on the same topic, which was completed by 1,000 U.S. primary care physicians on the Medscape platform between October 25, 2018 and November 22, 2018.

About Medscape

Medscape is the leading source of clinical news, health information, and point-of-care tools for health care professionals. Medscape offers specialists, primary care physicians, and other health professionals the most robust and integrated medical information and educational tools. Medscape Education ( is the leading destination for continuous professional development, consisting of more than 30 specialty-focused destinations offering thousands of free C.M.E. and C.E. courses and other educational programs for physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals. Medscape is a subsidiary of WebMD Health Corp.

About WebMD Health Corp.

WebMD Health Corp., an Internet Brands Company, is the leading provider of health information services, serving patients, physicians, health care professionals, employers, and health plans through public and private online portals, mobile platforms, and health-focused publications. The WebMD Health Network includes WebMD Health, Medscape, Jobson Healthcare Information, prIME Oncology, MediQuality, Frontline, Vitals Consumer Services, Aptus Health, MedicineNet, eMedicineHealth, RxList, OnHealth, Medscape Education, and other owned WebMD sites. WebMD®, Medscape®, CME Circle®, Medpulse®, eMedicine®, MedicineNet®,®, and RxList® are among the trademarks of WebMD Health Corp. or its subsidiaries.

About 23andMe

23andMe, Inc. is the leading consumer genetics and research company. Founded in 2006, the mission of the company is to help people access, understand, and benefit from the human genome. 23andMe is the first direct-to-consumer company to receive FDA authorization for genetic health reports, and has millions of customers worldwide, with more than 80 percent of customers consented to participate in research. 23andMe, Inc. is located in Sunnyvale, CA. More information is available at

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