Columbus, OH,
14:00 PM

Video conferencing for telemedicine brings convenience and peace of mind

The OhioHealth Genetic Counseling Program provides a comprehensive and informative risk assessment to help identify if a disease in your family is hereditary and to help you and your physician make choices for your best ongoing care. Usually done in person, now, genetic counseling is also available through video counseling, thanks to a grant from the Verizon Foundation. Patients in southeast Ohio, who might have had to travel hours for a session, can now communicate with a genetic counselor closer to home.

One of those patients is Courtney Devaney, who is concerned about her risk for breast cancer. The chronic illness is scattered through her father’s side of the family, her grandmother had it twice and her mother died of it. So she decided to do genetic testing with Megan Ensinger, MS, LGC, a certified counselor at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital. Instead of traveling to Columbus to meet with Megan, Courtney went to nearby OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital in Athens.

Although Courtney shows no signs of cancer, she wants to know if she has inherited a gene mutation that puts her at increased risk of getting breast cancer. According to Megan, if someone is born with BRCA mutation, the risk of getting cancer for the first time is anywhere from 50 to 85 percent.

Megan took a family history, discussed implications of testing and arranged for testing to be completed. If the lab finds a gene mutation linked to cancer, there may be early and increased screenings or other preventative options because the sooner cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance for survival.

Courtney found out that she did not have the BRCA mutation previously identified in her family. “Seeing the negative result was probably the most overwhelming and relieving feeling I’ve ever had in my entire life,” she said.

For Christmas, Courtney wrapped up the genetic testing results and gave them to her grandmother. Crying, her grandmother said, “That’s wonderful news.”

Now at an even easier reach with connectivity between patients and OhioHealth medical teams, Courtney advises others to try genetic counseling.

To learn more about genetic counseling at OhioHealth, click here.