Matt Binnicker, Ph.D., Director of the Clinical Virology Laboratory in the Division of Clinical Microbiology at Mayo Clinic, recently spoke with GenomeWeb/360Dx about using upfront flu immunoassays in conjunction with syndromic panel testing.
According to Dr. Binnicker, more studies need to be done on these workflows. As a coauthor of a recent paper in Clinical Microbiology Reviews on syndromic panels, he noted that panels have only been used routinely in clinical microbiology labs for the past five or six years, so data on their overall cost- effectiveness has yet to accumulate.
Dr. Binnicker went on to comment that, "Although it isn’t entirely clear whether the use of syndromic panels can reduce overall health care costs, there are several published studies that have shown that the routine use of syndromic panels can reduce length of stay in the hospital, impact patient management and infection-control decisions, and reduce the use of antibiotics. Reducing antibiotic use can in turn have immediate benefits of lower costs associated with prescription and side effects of treatment, and play a role in curbing the development of antibiotic resistance."
While there are certain situations where using first-line rapid tests prior to more costly testing makes sense, Dr. Binnicker highlighted that prevalence in a given patient population is a very important consideration.