Purpose: Cancer genetics clinics have seen increasing demand, challenging genetic counselors (GCs) to increase efficiency and prompting some clinics to implement genetic counseling assistants (GCAs). To evaluate the impact of GCAs on Geisinger’s cancer genetics clinic, we tracked GC time utilization, new patient volume, and clinic cost per patient before and after implementing a GCA program. Methods: GCs used time-tracking software while completing preappointment activities. Electronic health records were reviewed for appointment length and number of patients per week. Internal salary data for GCs and GCAs were used to calculate clinic costs per patient. Results: Time spent by GCs completing each preappointment activity (21.8 vs. 15.1 minutes) and appointment length (51.6 vs. 44.5 minutes) significantly decreased after GCA program implementation (p values < 0.001). New patients per week per GC significantly increased (7.9 vs. 11.4, p < 0.001). Weekly clinic cost per patient significantly decreased ($233 vs. $176, p = 0.03). Conclusion: Implementing a GCA program increased GC efficiency in preappointment activities and clinic appointments, increased patient volume, and decreased clinic cost per patient. Such a program can improve access to GC services and assist GCs in focusing on the direct patient care for which they are specially trained.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes