Article: Health Economics
The cost of diagnosing Type 2 diabetes mellitus by clinical opportunistic screening in general practice
Article first published online: 19 JUN 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Diabetic Medicine © 2012 Diabetes UK
Volume 29, Issue 7, pages 863–868, July 2012
How to Cite
Pereira Gray, D. J., Evans, P. H., Wright, C. and Langley, P. (2012), The cost of diagnosing Type 2 diabetes mellitus by clinical opportunistic screening in general practice. Diabetic Medicine, 29: 863–868. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2012.03607.x
- Issue published online: 19 JUN 2012
- Article first published online: 19 JUN 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 7 FEB 2012 11:42AM EST
- Accepted 31 January 2012
- general practice;
- Type 2 diabetes
Diabet. Med. 29, 863–868 (2012)
Aims Type 2 diabetes is associated with serious complications and shortens life. Its prevalence is increasing rapidly worldwide and no cure is available. One logical response is to diagnose the condition as early as possible. Clinical opportunistic screening is one mechanism for making the diagnosis before symptoms are reported. This paper reports the cost of using this technique in UK general practice.
Methods In one UK general practice, the electronic medical records were searched to determine the number of blood glucose and oral glucose tolerance tests undertaken for non-pregnant adults without known diabetes over three consecutive years. The laboratory, staff and administrative costs associated with these screening tests were calculated. The records of all patients newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes during the same period were reviewed to identify diagnoses made by clinical opportunistic screening. Total costs were divided by the number of diagnoses to determine a cost per diagnosis detected by opportunistic screening.
Results During the study period, 5720 screening tests were conducted for 2763 patients. Over the 3 years, 86 patients were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, 54 (63%) via screening (yield 2.0%; number needed to screen 51.2). The screening costs totalled £20 372. The average cost per new screen-detected diagnosis was £377.
Conclusions Almost two-thirds of new cases of Type 2 diabetes can be detected before symptoms are reported, at reasonable cost by opportunistic screening in general practice, without the use of extra resources. As an affordable alternative to population screening, clinical opportunistic screening merits further consideration.