Effect of early referral to an endocrinologist on efficiency and cost of evaluation and development of treatment plan in patients with thyroid nodules.
Radionuclide uptake and scan and sonogram, frequently ordered before referral to an endocrinologist, are expensive and poor predictors of thyroid nodule malignancy.
We estimated costs of excessive imaging and other studies by reviewing the records of all patients (n=70) referred to a single, consulting endocrinologist, for thyroid nodule evaluation in a 2-yr interval and subsequently, presenting only pertinent histories and results of physical examinations, thyroid function tests, and thyroid autoantibodies, to a second, reviewing endocrinologist (RE) who was blinded to diagnosis and management.
Concordance in diagnosis and management between consulting endocrinologist and RE was 87.1% and 93.4%, respectively.
Accuracy of diagnosis, loss of patient's time (8.7 h, average), and cost of unnecessary testing, defined as tests not required by the RE for diagnosis and management according to published guidelines, were determined.
Unnecessary testing included 153 physician's office or diagnostic laboratory visits, 44 sets of thyroid function tests, 32 radionuclide uptake and scan, 39 thyroid sonograms, and 3 computed tomography scans.
The total direct cost of unnecessary tests was estimated at $27,290 ($390/patient) in addition to costs of30 unnecessary physician's office visits.
Only 2 of8 surgical referrals required surgery, whereas 6 other patients required surgery, including 3 with papillary carcinoma. (...)
Mots-clés Pascal : Endocrinologie, Pratique professionnelle, Analyse avantage coût, Nodule thyroïde, Exploration clinique, Diagnostic, Médecin généraliste, Etude comparative, Etats Unis, Amérique du Nord, Amérique, Homme, Endocrinopathie, Thyroïde pathologie
Mots-clés Pascal anglais : Endocrinology, Professional practice, Cost benefit analysis, Thyroid nodule, Clinical investigation, Diagnosis, General practitioner, Comparative study, United States, North America, America, Human, Endocrinopathy, Thyroid diseases
Notice produite par :
Inist-CNRS - Institut de l'Information Scientifique et Technique
Cote : 99-0001191
Code Inist : 002B30A05. Création : 31/05/1999.