Assessing Direct-to-Consumer and Consumer-Directed Products for Clinical Integration.
With more and more Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) and Consumer-Directed (CD) ‘Omics products hitting the US market, leading providers, physician groups and healthcare systems in the field
of personalized or precision medicine have a decision to make. Should they be active participants in the Consumer-Directed and/or Direct-to-Consumer movement; should they invest in alternative offerings; or should they even separate themselves from such products completely? Experts in the field define Direct-to- Consumer (genetic) testing as testing sold directly to consumers via various marketing channels, including TV, the internet, social media platforms or other marketing venues without involving a healthcare professional or insurance company. Companies such as 23andMe – a leading personal genetics company with the goal to help people access, understand and benefit from the human genome, and uBiome – a citizen science project that allows the public access to cutting edge sequencing technology to understand their microbiome, are just two prevalent examples for DTC testing. While 23andMe markets itself as the “first and only genetic service available directly to you that includes reports that meet FDA standards” and includes reports on carrier status, ancestry, wellness, and personal traits, uBiome, on the other hand, allows an individual to “explore your microbiome” by extracting bacterial DNA out of an individual’s sample.