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When you make your annual exam appointment, you may notice a new step that you may complete, NorthShore’s Genetic and Wellness Assessment. From annual physicians to addressing a serious health challenge, we work with you and your genes to personalize your care with Advanced Primary Care. John Revis, MD, Internal Medicine at NorthShore, explains how NorthShore is integrating genetics as part of the patient care plan.
What is Advanced Primary Care?
Advanced Primary Care includes all aspects of the traditional aspects of your primary care visit (e.g. overall health assessment, blood pressure, weight checks) and also incorporates a more detailed assessment of your genetic history.
What is the Genetic and Wellness Assessment? What does the process look like for a patient?
The assessment is a questionnaire about your personal or family history of certain medical conditions (cancer, depression and other genetic conditions) that is filled out prior to an annual physical. Based on your responses, you may be eligible for a referral to one of our Personalized Medicine clinics or be recommended to have lab tests performed to learn more related to your DNA. This information would then be used to create a customized care and treatment plan based on unique genetic characteristics and health history. There is no cost for this assessment. It is an additional tool to assess health during the annual physical.
Who would benefit from the Genetic and Wellness assessment?
All patients may benefit from taking the Genetic and Wellness Assessment prior to their annual physical in order to identify any hereditary risk factors for diseases based on your personal or family history.
As research advances in the area of genomics, NorthShore recognizes the importance of providing care to our patients that is truly personalized and tailored to each person’s health and family history. While completely optional, the information provided through this assessment to your physician allows an opportunity to analyze the your personal and family history to help Identify areas where genomic information can help guide medical management in a more precise and proactive manner.
What are some risk factors or diseases that Advanced Primary Care can help detect?
Information learned from the Genetic and Wellness assessment, combined with subsequent genetic testing, can identity your risk for many conditions, including cancers, cardiac conditions, neurological disorders and certain forms of diabetes.
Once a patient completes the assessment, what are the next steps?
Based on your responses to the questions, either a referral to one of our personalized medicine clinics or certain lab tests may be recommended. Your physician may choose to order a referral, order an applicable lab test or do nothing.
Even if you answered “no” to the initial 4 questions related to cancer, heart disease, nervous system, and diabetes, you are still eligible to receive the Healthy Gene Panel lab test. This lab test is a broad panel, assessing your risk for a variety of conditions. The Healthy Gene Panel is not covered by insurance.
Does insurance cover the cost of an Advanced Primary Care appointment?
Typically, for most commercially insured patients, an annual physical is covered with no cost to the patient. However patients should check with their insurance provider to verify coverage. The Genetic and Wellness Assessment is not covered by Medicare and is not included in the Annual Wellness Visit. Medicare patients who are interested in completing the assessment can do so online or call (847) 570-GENE for more information.