Background: Diagnostic provocation tests (ICD Z01.5) have a low cost weight in the German DRG system. We aimed at investigating a possible economic impact on the number of provocation tests in German university medical centers (UMC) for dermatology.
Methods: We review quality records of 35 German UMC for 2008 and 2010 (ICD Z01.5, total number of patients as well as priority ranking).
Results: 33/35 hospitals gave full data for both years including the ten most frequent diagnoses. Between 2008 and 2010, total number of patients treated increased in 23/33 (70 %) UMC, those with ICD Z01.5 only in 11/24 (46 %) UMC with full data. In 2008, the ICD Z01.5 was in the top ten list of main diagnoses in 29/33 (88 %) hospitals, in 2010 in 25/33 (76 %); also, priority ranking tended to decrease. In contrast, total number of ICD Z01.5 in Germany tended to increase slightly.
Conclusions: We noticed a tendency for decreasing numbers of provocation tests being performed in dermatological UMC in Germany. As there is no evidence for a decreasing number of patients suffering from allergies, one may speculate about a shift to non-university departments due to an economic impact.