An accessible, relational, inclusive, and actionable (ARIA) model of genetic counseling compared with usual care: Results of a randomized controlled trial

Published:September 01, 2022DOI:



      Effective approaches to communicate genomic information are needed to ensure equitable care. In a randomized controlled superiority trial, we tested a novel practice model that aims to make genetic counseling inclusive, by making the communication accessible, relational, and actionable (ARIA).


      In total, 696 English- and Spanish-speaking patients aged 18 to 49 years, enriched for individuals from historically underserved backgrounds, were randomized in 1:1 ratio to ARIA or usual care. Primary outcomes were accuracy of recall, communication satisfaction, and perceived understanding. In total, 33 participants completed qualitative interviews.


      Recall and understanding were high for all participants. ARIA participants scored higher on the relationship scale of communication satisfaction (mean difference = 0.09, 95% CI = <0.01 to 0.17). Moderator analyses of communication satisfaction showed that those with lower health literacy reported less communication difficulty in ARIA and those using medical interpreters reported greater communication ease in ARIA. No significant difference was found on other primary and secondary outcomes. Qualitative data enhanced understanding of how and why ARIA can be effective.


      This study provides evidence that a genetic counseling intervention that focuses on specific communication skills to enhance relationship-building, patient engagement, and comprehension can be effective with all patients and may be especially valuable for patients of lower health literacy and Spanish-speakers who use a medical interpreter.


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