Implementing non-invasive prenatal testing for aneuploidy in a national healthcare system: Global challenges and national solutions

Rachèl V. Van Schendel, Carla G. Van El, Eva Pajkrt, Lidewij Henneman*, Martina C. Cornel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Since the introduction of non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) in 2011, mainly by commercial companies, a growing demand for NIPT from the public and healthcare professionals has been putting pressure on the healthcare systems of various countries. This study identifies the challenges of establishing a responsible implementation of NIPT for aneuploidy in prenatal healthcare, by looking at the Netherlands. Methods: A mixed methods approach involving 13 stakeholder interviews, document analysis and (participatory) observations of the Dutch NIPT Consortium meetings were used. The Diffusion of Innovation Theory and a Network of Actors model were used to interpret the findings. Results: Implementation of NIPT was facilitated by several factors. The set-up of a national NIPT Consortium enabled discussion and collaboration between stakeholders. Moreover, it led to the plan to offer NIPT through a nationwide research setting (TRIDENT studies), which created a learning phase for careful implementation. The Dutch legal context was perceived as a delaying factor, but eventually gave room for the parties involved to organise themselves and their practices. Conclusions: This study shows that implementing advanced technologies with profound effects on prenatal care benefit from a learning phase that allows time to carefully evaluate the technical performance and women's experiences and to enable public debate. Such a coordinated learning phase, involving all stakeholders, will stimulate the process of responsible and sustainable implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number670
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sep 2017

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