Letter From the CEO: Why CancerIQ is Furthering Our Investment in Tools for Genetic Counselors

Aug 31, 2022

I founded CancerIQ with the mission to scale genetics beyond academic medical centers to community hospitals so everyone has access to precision cancer prevention. I’m proud to say we’re advancing that mission. CancerIQ is now available to patients in over 200 diverse locations around the country. And earlier this year, we earned the backing of industry leaders, including Merck and Amgen, in a Series B funding round to continue our momentum.

One of our top priorities with this new funding is to continue our investment in the core group that helped us get our start — genetic counselors. The more patients have access to genetic testing, the more we need genetic counselors to help break down complex results. But there are fewer than 1,000 genetic counselors involved in direct patient care for cancer genetics nationwide. And not only is the supply limited, but most are also occupied by serving newly diagnosed cancer patients.

In our work at CancerIQ, we’ve uncovered hundreds of thousands of patients in preventive care who qualify for genetic services. This is far beyond the capacity of most genetic counseling staff. To continue helping more patients stay ahead of cancer, we need this precious specialty workforce to scale their capacity, be more productive and find more joy at work. That’s why CancerIQ is doubling down on our longtime commitment to serving and expanding the reach of genetic counselors.  

Here’s how:  

  1. We’re adding capacity back into the genetic counseling workforce.

    Lack of administrative support is one of the primary contributing factors to burnout among genetic counselors, and few health systems have the budget to hire additional support staff right now. CancerIQ is designed to function as a medical assistant, automating administrative tasks and allowing others to act as genetic extenders — so genetic counselors can reach larger patient populations and have the biggest impact.

    Our enhanced software makes it easy to gather information and quickly create complete, inclusive pedigrees that can be edited in real-time with patients, along with all the supporting documentation and paperwork. We’ve shown our platform can help genetic counselors save up to an hour and 15 minutes per appointment, freeing up time to help more patients stay ahead of cancer.

  2. We’re making it easier to interact with the leading genetic testing labs.

    Another common administrative burden is ordering genetic tests for patients. Even with newer test ordering capabilities, there’s still work to be done filling out prior authorizations and submitting patient-specific test requisition forms — and there’s still no centralized place to choose between labs.

    That’s why we embedded a full marketplace of genetic testing options into our platform, alongside other essential resources like auto-generated prior authorization forms and patient education materials. Our marketplace connects users to the leading labs, including Ambry, Invitae, LabCorp, Myriad, Natera and Tempus. And to further reduce the data entry burden, CancerIQ now automatically brings results from Invitae back into genetic counselor workflows, with several others soon to follow suit.
  3. We help secure health system investment in genetic counseling programs.

    Lastly, we know how important it is to feel valued at work. However, the challenging reimbursement landscape for genetic counseling services means gaining leadership buy-in isn’t always easy. Instead of leaving genetic counselors to point to academic papers to prove their worth, our software helps show the real clinical and financial benefits of genetic counseling in a direct, tangible way. Every click and recommendation genetic counselors make is logged and part of our analytics solution.


The Takeaway

Genetic counselors are an invaluable resource for early cancer detection and precision cancer prevention. Today this limited workforce is focused on serving newly diagnosed patients. But with the right tools and support, genetic counselors can help patients stay ahead of cancer altogether.  

Hear it directly from a genetic counseling manager, Ashley Navarro, MS, CGC, at Dignity Health, using the CancerIQ platform:

Watch the full webinar, How to reduce admin time & scale the impact of your cancer genetics program, to hear more from Ashley below.

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Topics: Genetic Counseling| High-Risk Patients| Cancer Centers