Specialist integrated haematological malignancy diagnostic services: an Activity Based Cost (ABC) analysis of a networked laboratory service model

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Abstract

Aims

Specialist Integrated Haematological Malignancy Diagnostic Services (SIHMDS) were introduced as a standard of care within the UK National Health Service to reduce diagnostic error and improve clinical outcomes. Two broad models of service delivery have become established: ‘co-located’ services operating from a single-site and ‘networked’ services, with geographically separated laboratories linked by common management and information systems. Detailed systematic cost analysis has never been published on any established SIHMDS model.

Methods

We used Activity Based Costing (ABC) to construct a cost model for our regional ‘networked’ SIHMDS covering a two-million population based on activity in 2011.

Results

Overall estimated annual running costs were £1 056 260 per annum (£733 400 excluding consultant costs), with individual running costs for diagnosis, staging, disease monitoring and end of treatment assessment components of £723 138, £55 302, £184 152 and £94 134 per annum, respectively. The cost distribution by department was 28.5% for haematology, 29.5% for histopathology and 42% for genetics laboratories. Costs of the diagnostic pathways varied considerably; pathways for myelodysplastic syndromes and lymphoma were the most expensive and the pathways for essential thrombocythaemia and polycythaemia vera being the least.

Conclusions

ABC analysis enables estimation of running costs of a SIHMDS model comprised of ‘networked’ laboratories. Similar cost analyses for other SIHMDS models covering varying populations are warranted to optimise quality and cost-effectiveness in delivery of modern haemato-oncology diagnostic services in the UK as well as internationally.

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