Genetics in clinical practice: a revolutionary approach

l resident, ordering a genetics test for a patient is not like ordering a standard test, such as for cholesterol. There is not only the science, but the associated psychosocial aspects. It's one thing to know about the genetics, for example of cystic fibrosis, but it's another thing to counsel a couple who are pregnant with a child who may be affected by CF," says Henderson. This program offers that real-world aspect by virtual interaction and exposure to patients.

The program's flow and content centers on three simulated patients who have, or are at risk of developing, diseases for which knowledge of clinical genetics can affect outcomes. In some instances, patient outcomes will depend on the management decisions and other actions of the learner. The highly detailed, computer-based environment is intuitive and easy to use any time, any place via a broadband Internet connection or on a CD. The CD will be available to outside users through professional organizations such as the American College of Medical Genetics and at little or no cost to the Dartmouth community.

The program is intended for health care providers who may see patients with disorders--or who have concerns about disorders--for which clinical genetics knowledge can positively impact outcomes. It addresses three central topics: genetics in clinical practice, working with genetics labs and lab workers and working with genetic counselors, and may also be helpful in training students, genetic counselors, medical laboratory professionals, public health practitioners and others interested in genetic testing. Users participate in a "virtual mini-fellowship" with a master clinician/master teacher.

IML specializes in combining emerging technology with innovative instructional design, producing high-end interactive multimedia educational programs for both patients and health care providers and develops distance learning systems capable of delivering multimedia over the Internet. The genetics virtu

Contact: DMS Communications
Dartmouth Medical School

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