18th Jun 2018

Music of Life: A new communication tool for healthcare professionals

Music of Life is a study to see what outcomes there may be when genetic counsellors employ lively and appealing metaphors based around the theme of music to help patients wade into genetics, an area that has all too often been opaque to non-experts.

Due to initiatives such as the 100,000 Genomes Project there has been a surge in ‘conversations around genomics’ happening with patients in the NHS, but there has been limited support for health professionals in how to communicate genomic information appropriately when faced directly with a patient. Explaining, for example, a ‘pathogenic variant’ or ‘variant of uncertain significance’ can be a real challenge. Whilst Clinical Geneticists and Genetic Counsellors are familiar with this, there is no consistency in how they communicate such concepts, and no tools to support non-specialist health professionals in how to do this.

The Music of Life project aims to address this issue in an innovative and creative way. The project is a collaboration between Society and Ethics Research, two partners from the creative film industry – Tin Pot Films and Thin Air Factory – and the team of 13 genetic counsellors working at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.  Together they have created six 90-second films for use in, and after, a consultation by any health professional who needs to communicate genomic information to patients.

Music of Life: behind the scenes

The effectiveness of the films in communicating with patients will be evaluated throughout the year and will be reported on in due course.

Watch the six films and find out more on the Society and Ethics Research website.