Research article published on Pubmed. 2019 September 11
AUTHORS: Voermans AM, JC Mewes, Broyles MR, Steuten LMG.
Medical decision-making is revolutionizing with the introduction of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Yet, traditional algorithms using biomarkers to optimize drug treatment continue to be important and necessary. In this context, early diagnosis and rational antimicrobial therapy of sepsis and lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) are vital to prevent morbidity and mortality. In this study we report an original cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) of using a procalcitonin (PCT)-based decision algorithm to guide antibiotic prescription for hospitalized sepsis and LRTI patients versus standard care. We conducted a CEA using a decision-tree model before and after the implementation of PCT-guided antibiotic stewardship (ABS) using real-world U.S. hospital-specific data. The CEA included societal and hospital perspectives with the time horizon covering the length of hospital stay. The main outcomes were average total costs per patient, and numbers of patients with Clostridium difficile and antibiotic resistance (ABR) infections. We found that health care with the PCT decision algorithm for hospitalized sepsis and LRTI patients resulted in shorter length of stay, reduced antibiotic use, fewer mechanical ventilation days, and lower numbers of patients with C. difficile and ABR infections. The PCT-guided health care resulted in cost savings of $25,611 (49% reduction from standard care) for sepsis and $3630 (23% reduction) for LRTI, on average per patient. In conclusion, the PCT decision algorithm for ABS in sepsis and LRTI might offer cost savings in comparison with standard care in a U.S. hospital context. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first health economic analysis on PCT implementation using U.S. real-world data. We suggest that future CEA studies in other U.S. and worldwide settings are warranted in the current age when PCT and other decision algorithms are increasingly deployed in precision therapeutics and evidence-based medicine.