Molecular-based allergy diagnostics in the real world: evidence for a cost explosion and an impact vacuum
© Conlon et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2015
Published: 30 March 2015
Molecular-based allergy (MA) diagnostics are used to identify patient sensitization to individual allergen components. Despite a recent consensus statement, the clinical utility of MA diagnostics in routine practice remains unclear.
To review the cost and usage patterns of MA diagnostics at a regional level and to estimate the clinical value of such testing strategies.
Laboratory data on Northern Ireland MA diagnostics ordering between 2010 and 2013 was obtained. Data specific to Regional Immunology Service patients from 2013 was further interrogated. A retrospective review of case records from adults (n=70) and children (n=53) was carried out to determine the impact of MA test results.
Mean age (sd)
% cost increase with MA (range)
MA test results altered management, n(%)
MA test results provided useful diagnostic support, n(%)
MA test results had no impact on diagnosis or management, n(%)
This study suggests that the use of MA diagnostics is entering routine clinical practice and is associated with a cost premium. The minimal clinical impact of these testing modalities argues for the establishment of demand management programs in resource-constrained environments.
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