ARUP Laboratories Launches Three Tools to Promote Cost-Effective Laboratory Testing

| February 4, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY – (Business Wire) ARUP Laboratories announced the release of three groundbreaking tools, downstream cost calculators, to its Suite of Utilization Management Services.

“Our clients, including pathologists and other laboratory professionals, play an important role in promoting cost-effective use of laboratory tests. This requires knowledge of the clinical settings in which tests are being ordered. It also requires knowledge of the clinical decisions being made based on those results and the cost implications of these decisions,” said Khosrow Shotorbani, ARUP senior vice president of sales.

According to Brian Jackson, MD, MS, ARUP’s medical director of medical informatics, the true cost of a diagnostic test includes many factors beyond the direct price of performing the test. For example, an apparently inexpensive test, ordered in the wrong clinical setting or at the wrong time, can sometimes lead to expensive follow-up testing and even therapy. “On the other hand, an apparently expensive test might turn out to be cost-saving if it averts costly procedures and/or therapy,” added Jackson.

To demonstrate the power of this concept, ARUP has created three calculators for use by the general public. The consequences of improper lab utilization in any one of these areas can have a dramatic impact on patient well-being. They address testing concerns in three important areas:

  • Testing and/or screening for Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA )screening in men over 75 years of age
  • KRAS-mutation detection in patients with late-stage colorectal cancer

According to Jackson, the calculators address three very different ways in which laboratory testing can impact overall health care costs. “Chlamydia trachomatis testing can be cost-saving, and ordering a more expensive but more sensitive test can be even more cost-saving by reducing hospitalization, disease transmission, and infertility workups. Prostate cancer screening for men over 75 years of age, on the other hand, is unlikely to be cost-saving under any set of assumptions, and the calculator estimates the downstream costs due to biopsies that result from ordering this initially very inexpensive test. Finally, KRAS is an example of a relatively expensive test, which, when used appropriately, can be dramatically cost-saving due to reduction in chemotherapy use.”

ARUP’s clients can utilize ARUP’s downstream cost calculators to:

  • Demonstrate to administrators or executives how laboratory testing affects the organization’s bottom line.
  • Increase their lab’s visibility within the health care organization.
  • Illustrate the key role of the laboratory in promoting cost-effective testing.

The downstream cost calculators are available at no cost to health care professionals at

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Category: Pathology News

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