Background: Conjunctivitis is a relatively common condition of the eye that can be caused by a number of different pathogens including bacteria and viruses. Clinical differentiation between adenoviral and bacterial conjunctivitis is difficult, often resulting in misdiagnosis and the provision of inappropriate treatment.
Methods: A cost-effectiveness analysis was performed from a societal perspective using primary, secondary, published literature, and expert opinion data sources. The incremental costs and effects (cases of unnecessary antibiotic treatment avoided) for a rapid point-of-care test for adenoviral conjunctivitis (RPS Adeno Detector) were modeled.
Results: Using base case values, the incremental cost of using no point-of-care test compared with the point-of-care test is $71.30 with 0.1786 cases of unnecessary antibiotic treatment. Extrapolating these costs to the entire U.S. population per annum, society could potentially save nearly $430 million currently spent on unnecessary medical care and avoid over 1 million cases of unnecessary antibiotic treatment. The no-point-of-care test strategy is both more costly and less effective; indicating that the point-of-care test strategy is the most cost-effective option. The results were robust to variation in key model parameters.
Conclusions: Through the use of a rapid point-of-care test for adenovirus, much of the cost to society caused by acute conjunctivitis can be avoided through more timely and accurate diagnosis.