Feasibility, face validity, and sensitivity of a web-based simulation tool for assessing genetic counseling communication

Michael R. Setzer, Debra L. Roter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We conducted a test of concept study to explore feasibility, face validity, and sensitivity of an interactive web-based video tool designed to assess communication practices of genetic counselors in response to standardized video prompts. A convenience sample of genetic counselors was recruited from the National Society of Genetic Counselors to respond verbally to a set of brief standardized video prompts from a virtual client in a prenatal genetic counseling session and a cancer genetic counseling session, embedded in an interactive online platform. Participant verbal responses to prompts were captured through a secure voicemail service. A total of 89 participants attempted to use the online tool and 51 (57%) successfully completed the simulation and produced an audio record of their responses. The average length of recordings was 12.2 min. Face validity was high; participants rated the virtual client as similar to clients seen in practice (75% agree; 12% strongly agree, 7% neutral, 6% disagree) and rated their own responses to the virtual client prompts as similar to those in practice (63% agree; 19% strongly agree; 12% neutral, 6% disagree). Feasibility was assessed by ratings of ease of use (57% agreed, 24% strongly agreed, 17% were neutral, and none disagreed). Content checklists showed that the tool was sensitive enough to detect variation in frequency of certain topics discussed by participants that was similar to previous descriptive studies. The test of concept demonstrated feasibility, face validity, and sensitivity of this communication tool with possible applications in research, training, and program evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1200-1209
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Genetic Counseling
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • communication
  • education
  • genetic counseling
  • genetic counselors
  • health communication
  • healthcare simulations
  • simulated patients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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