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Modelling-based evaluation of the costs, benefits and cost-effectiveness of multipathogen point-of-care tests for sexually transmitted infections in symptomatic genitourinary medicine clinic attendees
  1. Susie E Huntington1,
  2. Richéal M Burns1,2,
  3. Emma Harding-Esch3,4,
  4. Michael J Harvey1,
  5. Rachel Hill-Tout5,
  6. Sebastian S Fuller4,
  7. Elisabeth J Adams1,
  8. S Tariq Sadiq3,4,5
  1. 1 Aquarius Population Health, 58a Highgate High Street, London, UK
  2. 2 Health Economics and Policy Analysis Centre (HEPAC), NUI Galway, Ireland
  3. 3 HIV/STI Department, National Infection Service, Public Health England, 61 Colindale Avenue, London, UK
  4. 4 St George’s Institute for Infection and Immunity, Applied Diagnostic Research and Evaluation Unit, University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London, UK
  5. 5 St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Blackshaw Road, Tooting, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr S Tariq Sadiq; ssadiq{at}


Objectives To quantify the costs, benefits and cost-effectiveness of three multipathogen point-of-care (POC) testing strategies for detecting common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) compared with standard laboratory testing.

Design Modelling study.

Setting Genitourinary medicine (GUM) services in England.

Population A hypothetical cohort of 965 988 people, representing the annual number attending GUM services symptomatic of lower genitourinary tract infection.

Interventions The decision tree model considered costs and reimbursement to GUM services associated with diagnosing and managing STIs. Three strategies using hypothetical point-of-care tests (POCTs) were compared with standard care (SC) using laboratory-based testing. The strategies were: A) dual POCT for Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG); B) triplex POCT for CT-NG and Mycoplasma genitalium (MG); C) quadruplex POCT for CT-NG-MG and Trichomonas vaginalis (TV). Data came from published literature and unpublished estimates.

Primary and secondary outcome measures Primary outcomes were total costs and benefits (quality-adjusted life years (QALYs)) for each strategy (2016 GB, £) and associated incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) between each of the POC strategies and SC. Secondary outcomes were inappropriate treatment of STIs, onward STI transmission, pelvic inflammatory disease in women, time to cure and total attendances.

Results In the base-case analysis, POC strategy C, a quadruplex POCT, was the most cost-effective relative to the other strategies, with an ICER of £36 585 per QALY gained compared with SC when using microcosting, and cost-savings of £26 451 382 when using tariff costing. POC strategy C also generated the most benefits, with 240 467 fewer clinic attendances, 808 fewer onward STI transmissions and 235 135 averted inappropriate treatments compared with SC.

Conclusions Many benefits can be achieved by using multipathogen POCTs to improve STI diagnosis and management. Further evidence is needed on the underlying prevalence of STIs and SC delivery in the UK to reduce uncertainty in economic analyses.

  • genitourinary medicine
  • health economics
  • molecular diagnostics

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  • EJA and STS are joint senior authors.

  • Contributors All authors were involved in the conception and design of the research. STS, EH-E, RH-T and SSF provided input into current clinical practice relating to patient pathways in GUM. SEH estimated all parameter inputs and drafted the manuscript with support from EJA and MJH. RMB developed the model with input from EJA, SEH and MJH. All authors contributed to the interpretation of the model and approved the final version. STS acts as guarantor of the study.

  • Funding This work was supported by Innovate UK SBRI grant no. 971452, awarded to Atlas Genetics Ltd. Atlas Genetics paid the open access publication fee.

  • Disclaimer Atlas Genetics and Innovate UK had no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report and in the decision to submit the article for publication.

  • Competing interests All authors have completed the Unified Competing Interest Form and declare financial support from Innovate UK; EJA, SEH, MJH are employees of Aquarius Population Health (APH), which reports grants from Innovate UK grant to Atlas Genetics, during the conduct of the study; other from Cepheid, St Georges University of London, Enigma Diagnostics and AstraZeneca, on STI and POC research outside the submitted work; RMB is a Lecturer and Programme Director of Economics at St. Angela’s College Sligo/NUI Galway and an academic staff member of the Health Economics and Policy Analysis Centre (HEPAC) at NUI Galway, providing health economic support to Aquarius Population Health on an ad hoc consultancy basis. STS, EH-E, SSF are members of the Applied Diagnostic Research and Evaluation Unit at St George’s, University of London, which has received funding from Atlas Genetics, Alere, Cepheid, SpeeDx and Sekisui. STS has received NIHR funding to develop a POCT with Atlas.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data available. All data supporting the conclusions of the paper are included within the article or in the online supplementary material.

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