Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 1298–1308 | Cite as

DECIDE: a Decision Support Tool to Facilitate Parents’ Choices Regarding Genome-Wide Sequencing

  • Patricia Birch
  • S. Adam
  • N. Bansback
  • R. R. Coe
  • J. Hicklin
  • A. Lehman
  • K. C. Li
  • J. M. Friedman
Original Research


We describe the rationale, development, and usability testing for an integrated e-learning tool and decision aid for parents facing decisions about genome-wide sequencing (GWS) for their children with a suspected genetic condition. The online tool, DECIDE, is designed to provide decision-support and to promote high quality decisions about undergoing GWS with or without return of optional incidental finding results. DECIDE works by integrating educational material with decision aids. Users may tailor their learning by controlling both the amount of information and its format – text and diagrams and/or short videos. The decision aid guides users to weigh the importance of various relevant factors in their own lives and circumstances. After considering the pros and cons of GWS and return of incidental findings, DECIDE summarizes the user’s responses and apparent preferred choices. In a usability study of 16 parents who had already chosen GWS after conventional genetic counselling, all participants found DECIDE to be helpful. Many would have been satisfied to use it alone to guide their GWS decisions, but most would prefer to have the option of consulting a health care professional as well to aid their decision. Further testing is necessary to establish the effectiveness of using DECIDE as an adjunct to or instead of conventional pre-test genetic counselling for clinical genome-wide sequencing.


Decision support Decision aid E-counselling Genomic counselling Usability study Genomic and genetic sequencing 



We gratefully acknowledge funding from APOGEE-CanGèneNet (to jmf), Canadian Institutes for Health Research (to jmf), the Rare Disease Foundation (to phb) and the participation of all those who assisted with the beta testing and usability study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Authors Birch, Bansback, Adam, Coe, Hickling, Li, and Friedman declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human Studies and Informed Consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5). Informed consent was obtained from all participants for being included in the study.

Animal Studies

No animal studies were carried out by the authors for this article.

Supplementary material

10897_2016_9971_MOESM1_ESM.docx (33 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 33 kb)
10897_2016_9971_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (106 kb)
ESM 2 (PDF 105 kb)


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Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia Birch
    • 1
  • S. Adam
    • 1
  • N. Bansback
    • 2
  • R. R. Coe
    • 1
  • J. Hicklin
    • 2
  • A. Lehman
    • 1
  • K. C. Li
    • 1
  • J. M. Friedman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical Genetics, Children’s and Women’s HospitalUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.School of Population and Public HealthUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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