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Researchers use computer simulations to find true cost of HIV screenings
Date:11/19/2012

CINCINNATIIntroducing HIV screenings into the nation's emergency departments (EDs) leaves some doctors worrying about longer wait times, disrupted operations, and possible interference with necessary emergency services. Are their concerns unfounded? New research at the University of Cincinnati will use computer-based simulation modeling to determine how screening for HIV in the emergency department will affect how those departments operate.

UC emergency medicine researchers Michael Lyons, MD, MPH and Michael Ward, MD, MBA, are partnering with David Kelton, PhD, of UC's Lindner College of Business, on a five-year, $1.25 million grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to find out the costsin terms of operational disruption and lost opportunity for other servicesof introducing HIV testing into EDs.

"EDs are already overcrowded and in crisis, so physicians fear that time and resources spent on HIV testing will detract from their core mission," says Lyons, a UC assistant professor of emergency medicine and medical director of UC's HIV Early Intervention Program. "But we don't know the true opportunity cost of instituting HIV screening in departments. Knowing which methods are least disruptive could provide valuable guidance and help promote adoption of this important public health practice."

If hospitals and physicians were able to quantify the true costs of conducting HIV screening programs, Lyons says they can then either look at options to minimize or avoid those costs, or work with policy makers and hospital administration to secure additional resources to compensate for those costs. Or, if the costs associated with the testing are found to be less than believed, Lyons hopes that providing that clarified information will encourage more hospitals to introduce such programs.

Lyons, who has spent more than a decade researching ED HIV screening, will work with Ward, assistant professor of emergency medicine and o
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Contact: Katy Cosse
kathryn.cosse@uc.edu
513-558-0207
University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Source:Eurekalert

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