Mixed-methods evaluation of the NHS Genomic Medicine Service for paediatric rare diseases: study protocol
23rd February 2022
Background: A new nationally commissioned NHS England Genomic Medicine Service (GMS) was recently established to deliver genomic testing with equity of access for patients affected by rare diseases and cancer. The overarching aim of this research is to evaluate the implementation of the GMS during its early years, identify barriers and enablers to successful implementation, and provide recommendations for practice. The focus will be on the use of genomic testing for paediatric rare diseases.
Methods: This will be a four-year mixed-methods research programme using clinic observations, interviews and surveys. Study 1 consists of qualitative interviews with designers/implementers of the GMS in Year 1 of the research programme, along with documentary analysis to understand the intended outcomes for the Service. These will be revisited in Year 4 to compare intended outcomes with what happened in practice, and to identify barriers and facilitators that were encountered along the way. Study 2 consists of clinic observations (pre-test counselling and results disclosure) to examine the interaction between health professionals and parents, along with follow-up interviews with both after each observation. Study 3 consists of a longitudinal survey with parents at two timepoints (time of testing and 12 months post-results) along with follow-up interviews, to examine parent-reported experiences and outcomes. Study 4 consists of qualitative interviews and a cross-sectional survey with medical specialists to identify preparedness, facilitators and challenges to mainstreaming genomic testing. The use of theory-based and pre-specified constructs will help generalise the findings and enable integration across the various sub-studies.
Dissemination: We will disseminate our results to policymakers as findings emerge, so any suggested changes to service provision can be considered in a timely manner. A workshop with key stakeholders will be held in Year 4 to develop and agree a set of recommendations for practice.
Available at https://doi.org/10.3310/nihropenres.13236.1