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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

Print version ISSN 0256-9574

Abstract

ELLEMDIN, S; RHEEDER, P  and  SOMA, P. Providing clinicians with information on laboratory test costs leads to reduction in hospital expenditure. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2011, vol.101, n.10, pp. 746-748. ISSN 0256-9574.

OBJECTIVES: We aimed to ascertain the efficacy of an intervention inwhich laboratory test costs were provided to clinicians as a pocketsizedbrochure, in reducing laboratory test costs over a 4-monthperiod. METHODS: This was a non-randomised intervention study in theInternal Medicine wards at Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Pretoria, in which the intervention was laboratory test costs provided toclinicians as a pocket-sized brochure. The intervention period wasthe winter months of May - August 2008 and the pre-interventionperiod was the same months of the preceding year. In the two4-month periods (2007 and 2008), the number of days in hospitaland the laboratory tests ordered were computed for each patientadmitted. For the intervention and control groups, pre- and postinterventioncost and days in hospital were estimated. RESULTS: The mean cost per patient admitted in the interventiongroup decreased from R2 864.09 to R2 097.47 - a 27% reduction.The mean cost per day in the intervention group as a whole alsodecreased, from R442.90 to R284.14 - a 36% reduction. CONCLUSION: Displaying the charges for diagnostic tests on thelaboratory request form may significantly reduce both the numberand cost of tests ordered, and by doing so bring about considerablein-hospital cost savings.

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