1. Apr 06, 2021

Accurate diagnostic testing for adenoviral conjunctivitis can save employers money

The use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to confirm adenoviral conjunctivitis at a large institution resulted in fewer employees being furloughed than if clinical diagnosis was used, resulting in substantial cost savings, according to a study.

In this quality improvement study, of the 2142 employees from Johns Hopkins Medicine who presented with red eye, 1520 (71.0%) underwent

PCR testing to confirm a diagnosis of adenoviral conjunctivitis. Overall, 130 (8.6%) employees had positive adenoviral PCR test results, with 41 (31.5%) diagnosed with epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC).

There was an estimated cost savings of $442 073 annually when only the 130 employees with a positive PCR test were furloughed compared to furloughing all 1520 employees with clinically suspected of having adenoviral conjunctivitis. Over 7 years, the cost savings was estimated at $3 094 511.

The cost of PCR testing on employees suspected of having adenoviral conjunctivitis was 5% of the cost associated with furloughing all employees with red eye.

Kuo IC, Gower EW. Cost savings from a policy to diagnose and prevent transmission of adenoviral conjunctivitis in employees of a large academic medical center. JAMA Ophthalmol.  2021.doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2021.0150.