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"It's hard to wait": Provider Perspectives on Current Genomic Care in Safety-Net NICUs.

PURPOSE: Critically ill infants from marginalized populations disproportionately receive care in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) that lack access to state-of-the-art genomic care, leading to inequitable outcomes. We sought provider perspectives to inform our implementation study (VIGOR) providing rapid genomic sequencing within these settings.

METHODS: We conducted semi-structured focus groups with neonatal and genetics providers at five NICUs at safety-net hospitals, informed by the Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services framework, which incorporates evidence, context, and facilitation domains. We iteratively developed codes and themes until thematic saturation was reached.

RESULTS: Regarding evidence, providers felt that genetic testing benefits infants and families. Regarding context, the major barriers identified to genomic care were genetic testing cost, lack of genetics expertise for disclosure and follow-up, and navigating the complexity of selecting and ordering genetic tests. Providers had negative feelings about the current status quo and inequity in genomic care across NICUs. Regarding facilitation, providers felt that a virtual support model like VIGOR would address major barriers and foster family-centered care and collaboration.

CONCLUSION: NICU providers at safety-net hospitals believe that access to state-of-the-art genomic care is critical for optimizing infant outcomes, yet substantial barriers exist that the VIGOR study may address.

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