Background: Previous studies have indicated that human papillomavirus (HPV) testing as a triage for managing equivocal cytology is cost-effective. The aim of this study was to assess the costs of alternative roll-out options.
Methods: Detailed cost estimates were collected from six laboratories where HPV triage had been implemented. Costs were assessed for the two different service delivery models that were implemented; a 'hub and spoke model' of central HPV testing in a microbiology laboratory with separate cytology laboratories, and an 'integrated model' where HPV testing was conducted within the cytology laboratory.
Results: Comparison of alternative delivery models indicated that setting up HPV processing within existing cytology laboratory, i.e., an 'integrated cytology/HPV laboratory' generated savings in staff time amounting to between £2.54 and 4.86 per sample processed. Running full HPV testing batches was also an important consideration. For full batches to be run on a twice weekly basis requires having no more than two laboratories per Strategic Health Authority.
Conclusions: To be cost-efficient, and to meet turn-around times, HPV testing needs to be conducted at integrated cytology/HPV testing centres with sufficient throughput to run full batches of HPV tests.