Examining the potential benefits of a near bedside test for Clostridium difficile infection
Faster diagnosis of Clostridium difficile should reduce the spread of infection and improve use of NHS resources in hospitals.
Clostridium difficile (C.diff) is a bacterium that can infect the bowel and cause severe life threatening infection. There is a need to develop a test that can rapidly diagnose C.diff as it can easily spread, especially within hospitals and care homes.
We were funded by a Canadian company, GenePOC now acquired by Meridian Bioscience, to examine the possible benefits of using their Revogene test for diagnosing C.diff at the bedside. This was a collaboration involving Newcastle University’s Health Economics Group and Population Health Sciences Institute, Newcastle Hospitals and the NIHR Leeds In Vitro Diagnostics Co-operative.
Interviews with clinical and scientific experts revealed that currently C.diff is diagnosed using multiple laboratory tests which are often conducted away from the hospital site. This can cause delays in the actions of the clinical team.
Economic modelling implied that Revogene would save £283,282 per 1000 hospitalised NHS patients.
The cost savings were predicted to be associated with a shorter time to process tests and share results.
- Faster diagnosis of C.diff, using Revogene, should ensure that patients are treated and isolated more quickly.
- This would also reduce the spread of the infection.
- There could be savings to NHS resources.
- The results were used by the company to plan future evidence development.
Overall our results indicate that the use of a near patient test for C. diff could be beneficial to patients and the NHS. Future research should evaluate the accuracy of the test and the impact of adopting the test to the management and treatment of patients with suspected C.diff.
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