Genetic tests don't increase healthcare use, study finds

Genetic tests that predict risk of illness are becoming much more common, and there are even growing numbers of multiplex tests available commercially--tests that can check for a range of gene changes all at once. But might these raise worries that then lead to increased demand for healthcare services? No, according to a National Institutes of Health-sponsored study. The study looked at people between 25 and 40 who took up the offer from their healthcare provider of a multiplex test for 8 common health conditions. There was no real increase in the numbers of visits to doctors or demands for lab tests in this group before and after testing--so doctors don't have to be concerned about the impact on the healthcare budget. However, this study does raise the query--if the tests don't change people's behavior, are they worth it? Press release | Abstract