Abramson Cancer Center Telegenetics Program

Middle-ages woman scrolling through her laptop in her home

The Abramson Cancer Center Telegenetics Program offers genetic counseling via telephone and two-way video conferencing.

This type of virtual visit lets you interact with genetic counselors online and in real time. It’s especially helpful if you live where genetic services are not easy to access.

Our services include remote screening, interpreting test results and genetic counseling.

What is Telegenetics?

Telegenetics refers to our ability to provide traditional genetic counseling services and testing via telemedicine through our Center for Connected Care. We can communicate by telephone or video conferencing.

A genetic counselor talking with a patient during a telegenetics virtual visit
Genetic counselor Cara Cacioppo, MS, LCGC, speaks with a patient on the phone during a virtual visit.
There are many benefits to telegenetics, including:
  • Improved access to genetic services for remote patients, including those in rural areas,
    with limited or no access to genetic services
  • Risk reduction interventions
  • Decreased cancer mortality

Meeting with a genetics counselor can help to determine if your personal or family history meets the criteria for genetic testing. However, only a fraction of patients meet with a genetics counselor. There are often barriers to access, such as long distances to travel, or simply a shortage of genetics professionals. Telegenetics makes it possible to reach more people without the barriers involved with traditional in-person consultations. See what to expect during a telegenetic counseling virtual visit.

About the Penn Telegenetics Program 

United States Map Showing the availability of Penn Medicine telegenetic servicesThe Penn Telegenetics Program was founded in 2012 by Angela R. Bradbury, MD, based on research evaluating remote phone and real-time services for cancer genetic counseling and testing.

The program was selected for a grant from Penn’s Center for Health Care Innovation and took part in National Cancer Institute’s SPRINT (SPeeding Research-tested INTerventions) Program. Through multiple clinical and research contracts, the telegenetics program has now grown to offer remote clinical and research services nationwide.

The Penn Telegenetics program currently includes nine certified genetic counselors licensed in all US States as required by state licensure laws. Collectively, the program provides more than 140 counseling sessions per month with growing volumes annually. You can learn more about our team, here.

National Research Opportunities in Telegenetics

The Penn Telegenetics Program is partnering in innovative research using telegenetics, including:

  • Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative – Generation Program
  • NCI MATCH COMET Study

The Alzheimer Prevention Initiative Generation Program

We are honored to work closely with the Generation Program, which is conducting two Alzheimer’s disease prevention clinical trials.

Screening for the Generation Program involves genetic testing for the APOE gene. The APOE gene can influence your risk for the more common late-onset type of Alzheimer's disease. All Generation Program participants have a genetic counseling session to discuss their personal APOE results.

We work with Generation Program sites across the United States to provide these genetic counseling services via both telephone and videoconferencing. Click here to learn more about the Generation Program.

NCI MATCH COMET Study

The COMET study involves genetic testing of tumors. It is an ongoing research effort directly connected to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) MATCH study.  
In some cases, the tumor testing report may also signal the possibility of an inherited gene mutation. Additional genetic counseling and testing could provide more information about cancer risk to both the patient and their family.

In these scenarios, the test report recommends that the oncologist refer the patient to a genetic counselor or genetics program. But, like many community oncology practices, many MATCH sites do not have genetic counselors on-site or close by. MATCH sites involved in the COMET study can connect their participants to the Penn Telegenetics Program via phone. Click here to learn more about the NCI MATCH COMET Study.

Clinical Services and Partnerships

We also provide cancer genetic counseling services for patients in Bayhealth Medical Center in Delaware and Shore Medical Center in New Jersey.

This clinical partnership allows Bayheath and Shore patients to meet with a Penn telegenetics counselor from the comfort of their local doctor’s office. They will receive the same high-quality genetic counseling and genetic testing services available to Penn Medicine patients.

For more information on scheduling a telegenetics appointment with our local community partners, please call  215-662-4303.

Accessing the Telegenetics Program

If you are a provider or program administrator, interested in partnering with us for telegenetics, please email Penn.Telegenetics@uphs.upenn.edu.

If you are a patient seeking information on genetic counseling services, call 800-789-7366.

For more information, visit Penn Medicine's Connected Care Telemedicine Programs.

News about Telegenetics at Penn Medicine