A new online program to help educate physicians and other health care professionals on the benefits and limitations of genetic testing and when it is appropriate to incorporate it into their practices is now available as the first of a 12-part series launched by The American Medical Association (AMA), Scripps Translational Science Institute (Scripps) and The Jackson Laboratory (JAX).

As part of the new 12-module "Precision Medicine for Your Practice" series, this first educational module is focused on expanded carrier screening and will help physicians who provide prenatal care understand the benefits and limitations of using expanded genetic screening panels to estimate whether expectant and prospective parents risk passing dozens of conditions on to their children. The 11 future modules will focus on other applications of genetic testing, including targeted therapy in oncology, genomic sequencing, cardiogenomics, neurogenomics, pharmacogenomics and ethics in precision medicine.

"We can use new innovations in genetic testing to more precisely predict, diagnose and treat conditions in individual patients, instead of having to settle for a one-size-fits-all approach," said AMA President Andrew W. Gurman, M.D. "These new modules will help more physicians and health care professionals become aware of the different ways that genetic testing can be used to improve health outcomes for patients."

The modules carry CME credit and will be available online at the AMA Education Center as they are released over the next 12 months. In each module, clinicians will have the opportunity to practice applying genetic information to patient cases, assess the utility of genetic information and learn about benefits and limitations of new genetic tests.

"Genomic information is important to all areas of medicine," said Kate Reed, MPH, ScM, director of clinical education, JAX Genomic Education. "For genomic information to make an impact in patient care, health care providers need to have the knowledge and skills to apply it appropriately to patients. These short, interactive modules will help health care providers see how genetics applies to current patients."

Laura Nicholson, M.D., Ph.D., director of education at Scripps, said, "Personalized genetic testing is transforming clinical practice at an unprecedented pace, too rapidly for most clinicians to stay current. With these short, case-based modules that can be completed in any number or order, we hope to engage busy physicians and clinical trainees with information and resources to comfortably incorporate these new technologies into practice."