A RAPID INFLUENZA TEST IN HOSPITALS COULD AVOID UNNECESSARY PAEDIATRIC ISOLATION BED DAYS AND SAVE COSTS
Paediatric patients with suspected influenza infections are often presumptively isolated when they are admitted to hospital to reduce intrahospital transmission. However, isolation beds are a scarce resource in particular during influenza season. We aimed to estimate the unnecessary isolation days averted and associated cost by early diagnosis of false positive patients with a point of care test for influenza.
A decision tree model was built in Microsoft Excel to calculate the number of isolation bed days used currently with a standard laboratory based test for influenza, compared to using a point of care test (12 versus 2 hours’ time to results). Input parameters were taken from a service evaluation in 2014/15 in London, and we assumed a 7% prevalence of influenza in a cohort of 1000 patients with suspected influenza, average hospital stay of 3 days, cost of an isolation bed being 10% more than a ward bed.
Using a point of care test could avert 371 and 448 unnecessary isolation days with an associated estimated cost savings of £24,603 and £29,610 if the test were implemented on the ward or in A&E, respectively. There was an estimated savings of £66 per isolation bed day saved.
Point of care tests could improve bed management and reduce unnecessary isolation days and the associated costs, improve clinical management of patients, and reduce hospital transmission of infection.