Reducing costs for healthcare systems and society

Insights from precise diagnostics help healthcare professionals treat their patients more effectively. This can translate into more efficient operation of health systems, with fewer in-hospital days or outpatient visits, and reduced costs related to under- and over-treatment.

Healthcare strategies focusing on early diagnosis can bring patients and their caregivers a better quality of life. Patients who are diagnosed and treated early are more likely to return rapidly to work – or to continue working and living full, active lives. For healthcare systems, this can translate to improved treatment outcomes and reduced indirect costs.

As an example, data from early testing can pinpoint if a patient has a viral or bacterial infection. Accurate diagnoses can also help decrease the incidence of sepsis and reduce antibiotic resistance, which can lead to hospitalisation and death. In 2019, as many as 1.27 million deaths were the direct result of antimicrobial resistance, meaning that drug-resistant infections killed more people than HIV/AIDS (864,000 deaths) or malaria (643,000 deaths).2

The value of diagnostic information has not typically been included in national health strategies and assessments of health system performance. Research published by a team from universities and institutes in the US, Netherlands, Italy, UK, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand found that national systems can become more effective if they put processes in place to measure the value that diagnostics bring to society. This means looking beyond traditional clinical and health economics factors to explicitly include diagnostics in public health policies and decision-making.3

In cancer, powerful biomarker testing tools help improve treatment focus and health outcomes. No two tumours are exactly the same, and biomarker testing is a way to look for genes, genetic mutations, proteins and other substances that provide detailed information about a tumour. This data can provide healthcare professionals with data to help identify treatment options most likely to be effective for each patient.

Diagnostics have a significant positive impact on health systems and healthcare services. Without access to early testing, patients will seek care later in their treatment journeys, with potentially poorer outcomes and higher treatment costs.1

When Amanda was told she had as little as two weeks to live following her diagnosis of advanced lung cancer, she wondered who would write the love notes that she tucked into her daughters’ lunch boxes. Biomarker testing, however, revealed that she was eligible for targeted therapy. Learn more about Amanda’s mission to spread the word about the importance of biomarker testing.

“By diagnosing patients as early as possible, their outcomes can improve significantly. In the case of cancer, if caught early, there is still an opportunity to initiate a treatment that might lead to complete remission.”
Dr. Janet Raycheva
Medical Oncology Resident Doctor at Klinikum Lippe, Germany

This investment in innovation can also lead to reduced costs. A study4 of 16,000 lung cancer patients in France found that an investment of $11.5 million in epidermal growth factor receptor biomarker testing yielded savings of $485 million in treatment costs over six years by helping identify which patients would respond to the targeted treatments available.

A study in the US5 estimates that early cancer diagnoses achieved savings of $26 billion in yearly treatment cost savings during the study period (2017). Led by the Centre for Computational Biology, Duke-NUS Medical School (Singapore) and Business School and the School of Physics at Free University of Tbilisi, researchers assessed breast, lung, prostate and colorectal cancers and melanoma, which account for more than 50% of new cancers.

For non-communicable diseases, health economics research in the UK, led by the University of Sheffield School of Health, found that $85 billion could be saved if people at high risk of six cardiovascular diseases (hypertension, atrial fibrillation, high cholesterol, diabetes, non-diabetic hyperglycaemia and chronic kidney disease) were diagnosed early.6

References

  1. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)00673-5/fulltext Accessed 5 July 2022.

  2. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-00228-x Accessed 5 July 2022.

  3. https://www.karger.com/Article/Pdf/501832 Accessed 5 July 2022

  4. https://www.efpia.eu/media/580518/access-to-personalised-oncology-in-europe.pdf Accessed 5 July

  5. https://www.mdpi.com/2306-5729/2/3/30 Accessed 5 July 2022

  6. https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/10/9/e037486 Accessed 5 July 2022

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