Thursday, May 3, 2018

Genetics Testing in the Work Place

As our medical screening abilities become more comprehensive so too, it would seem, does our potential health care benefits. According to the New York Times article Employees Jump at Genetic Testing. Is That a Good Thing? By Natacha Singer, companies all across nation, like Visa, General Electric, Levi’s, and many more, have started including genetic screening as part of their company health care programs. Ideally this is to make it possible for employees to see if they have any genetic/heritable predisposition to a disease so that they may be able to take preventable measures/medical counseling earlier before they are affected, when costs of dealing with ailments are cheaper. And yes, these screening are both novel and optional.

Yet while in theory this addition to company health benefits would improve costs and employee health there are many other concerns around its application in the work place. The main concern being that participants might take the results of these genetic tests, which are by no means 100% accurate, too literally and look at them as a diagnosis, not realizing that they just show potential increased or decreased probability. This intern could cause participants to take drastic or unnecessary health precautions and/or procedures that end up doing patients more physical and financial harm than good, and vice versa the genetic results could give patients a false sense of security if they come up negative, resulting in them not taking the standard recommended medical screenings. Yet, as this new benefit enters the work place we will begin to see if it does more harm than good, as it is way to early to tell, but if in know people then I think this will probably end in an influx of unnecessary procedures and panic, as most people are not that educated on this subject. 

For more on genetic screening/testing check this link out


  1. I like the idea of having genetic screenings available to employees through insurance, I took an ancestry test and paid extra for the health report just to learn more about myself and for reassurance. I think that it would be nice to know that I have increased likelihood of developing a disease so I can be more cautious and pay more attention to any signs or let my doctor know.

  2. I read an article similar to this one that you summarized. It might be beneficial for employees to have their genetic screenings done for certain types of diseases for precautionary measures such as testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations. I know 23andMe offers something similar to this.