BACKGROUND: The increasing need to reduce the costs of providing diagnostic laboratory services has prompted initiatives based on the centralization and consolidation of laboratory facilities. However, the majority of papers and experiences reported in literature focus on "cost per test" thus overlooking the real value of a laboratory service, which requires more complex economic evaluations, such as cost-benefit, cost-effectiveness, and cost-utility analysis. It is important to perform cost analysis, which is no mean feat, by taking into consideration all variables affecting the final and true cost per test. METHODS: The present study was conducted in order to evaluate the costs of delivering laboratory services in 20 Italian clinical laboratories using a widely accepted methodology, the so-called "activity-based costing analysis". RESULTS: The finding of a trend towards a decrease in total costs - due to an increase in test volumes - attained statistical significance only for quantities of up to about 1,100,00 tests per year. For 1,800,00 tests and more, the cost per test appeared to range from 1.5 to 2.0 € irrespective of the different volumes. Regarding the relationship between volumes and number of staff, there is an evident linear relationship between the number of senior staff and volumes, whereas this trend is not observed in the case of medical technologists, the degree and type of automation strongly affecting this variable. CONCLUSIONS: The findings made in the present study confirm that the relationship between volumes and costs is not linear; since it is complex, numerous variables should be taken into account.

Shop for quality or quantity? Volumes and costs in clinical laboratories.

ZANINOTTO, MARTINA;FAGGIAN, DIEGO;PLEBANI, MARIO
2013

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The increasing need to reduce the costs of providing diagnostic laboratory services has prompted initiatives based on the centralization and consolidation of laboratory facilities. However, the majority of papers and experiences reported in literature focus on "cost per test" thus overlooking the real value of a laboratory service, which requires more complex economic evaluations, such as cost-benefit, cost-effectiveness, and cost-utility analysis. It is important to perform cost analysis, which is no mean feat, by taking into consideration all variables affecting the final and true cost per test. METHODS: The present study was conducted in order to evaluate the costs of delivering laboratory services in 20 Italian clinical laboratories using a widely accepted methodology, the so-called "activity-based costing analysis". RESULTS: The finding of a trend towards a decrease in total costs - due to an increase in test volumes - attained statistical significance only for quantities of up to about 1,100,00 tests per year. For 1,800,00 tests and more, the cost per test appeared to range from 1.5 to 2.0 € irrespective of the different volumes. Regarding the relationship between volumes and number of staff, there is an evident linear relationship between the number of senior staff and volumes, whereas this trend is not observed in the case of medical technologists, the degree and type of automation strongly affecting this variable. CONCLUSIONS: The findings made in the present study confirm that the relationship between volumes and costs is not linear; since it is complex, numerous variables should be taken into account.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3157376
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