Introduction of cost display reduces laboratory test utilization.

Link to article at PubMed

Introduction of cost display reduces laboratory test utilization.

Am J Manag Care. 2018 May 01;24(5):e164-e169

Authors: Ekblom K, Petersson A

OBJECTIVES: To study the effects on the number of laboratory tests ordered after introduction of cost display (showing the cost in the computerized test ordering system at test ordering and test result delivery) and cost charge (requiring all primary healthcare centers to pay full laboratory costs of the ordered tests).
STUDY DESIGN: The study included cost display for secondary healthcare centers (inpatient hospitals, emergency departments, and outpatient specialist providers) as well as publicly and privately operated primary healthcare centers (sites of nonemergency, nonspecialist healthcare). After 3 months, cost charge was introduced by management for all primary healthcare centers.
METHODS: Information on laboratory test cost was appended to the laboratory test name in the test ordering system, resulting in cost display both at the moment of test ordering and at the presentation of the test result. Numbers of laboratory tests were obtained from the laboratory information system and calculated as tests per physician visit. Cost charge was managed through the established laboratory invoicing system.
RESULTS: In the publicly operated primary healthcare centers, neither of the interventions had any effect on laboratory test volume, nor did cost display have an effect in the privately operated primary healthcare centers. However, introduction of cost charge significantly decreased laboratory test ordering in the privately operated primary healthcare centers. In contrast, secondary healthcare centers lowered test volumes when cost display was introduced.
CONCLUSIONS: The results support cost awareness and cost charge as means of reducing laboratory utilization. However, the outcome varies with the setting.

PMID: 29851448 [PubMed - in process]

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