Background: Unverified penicillin allergy leads to adverse downstream clinical and economic sequelae. Penicillin allergy evaluation can be used to identify true, IgE-mediated allergy.
Objective: To estimate the cost of penicillin allergy evaluation using time-driven activity-based costing (TDABC).
Methods: We implemented TDABC throughout the care pathway for 30 outpatients presenting for penicillin allergy evaluation. The base-case evaluation included penicillin skin testing and a 1-step amoxicillin drug challenge, performed by an allergist. We varied assumptions about the provider type, clinical setting, procedure type, and personnel timing.
Results: The base-case penicillin allergy evaluation costs $220 in 2016 US dollars: $98 for personnel, $119 for consumables, and $3 for space. In sensitivity analyses, lower cost estimates were achieved when only a drug challenge was performed (ie, no skin test, $84) and a nurse practitioner provider was used ($170). Adjusting for the probability of anaphylaxis did not result in a changed estimate ($220); although other analyses led to modest changes in the TDABC estimate ($214-$246), higher estimates were identified with changing to a low-demand practice setting ($268), a 50% increase in personnel times ($269), and including clinician documentation time ($288). In a least/most costly scenario analyses, the lowest TDABC estimate was $40 and the highest was $537.
Conclusions: Using TDABC, penicillin allergy evaluation costs $220; even with varied assumptions adjusting for operational challenges, clinical setting, and expanded testing, penicillin allergy evaluation still costs only about $540. This modest investment may be offset for patients treated with costly alternative antibiotics that also may result in adverse consequences.
Keywords: Allergy; Beta-lactam; Challenge; Hypersensitivity; Resource; Skin test; Test dose.
Copyright © 2017 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.