First Light Diagnostics’ rapid tests can identify the most effective antibiotics to cure infections in hours, rather than the days required by current tests. Administering the right antibiotic close to the onset of infection can not only save lives but can also dramatically lower healthcare costs. This is especially important today because many life-threatening infections are caused by antibiotic resistant pathogens. Tests that determine which antibiotic will effectively treat the particular pathogen causing a patient’s infection are called antimicrobial susceptibility tests (AST).
Today, due to slow AST methods, doctors treating infections cannot know which antibiotics will cure a patient until several days after the onset of symptoms. In the interim, they prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics empirically – essentially a guess that is often sub-optimal and ineffective – until days later when AST results indicate which targeted antibiotic will most effectively combat the pathogen causing the patient’s infection.
For patients with life-threatening hospital infections, suboptimal initial therapy can lead not only to poor outcomes including death but also to long and costly hospital stays. These infections cost hospitals about $10B annually most of which is attributable to increased length of stay. First Light’s rapid AST results, by identifying the best antibiotics to cure infections days earlier than current methods, could significantly shorten hospitalizations, dramatically lowering hospitals’ cost.
Another cost-lowering impact of First Light’s rapid AST results arises from the fact that curing infections early prevents their spread throughout the hospital and helps ensure that patients are cured before they are discharged. The cost-savings are due to the healthcare quality rules instituted by the Affordable Care Act’s Medicare’s Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) program). BPCI pays hospitals a lump sum annually for all reimbursable services. Importantly, the actual amount of the annual payment is tied to hospital quality measures including the number of hospital infections, superbug infections, and hospital readmissions (which are frequently due to unresolved hospital infections). Hospitals can stand to lose millions of dollars – up to 7% of their total annual reimbursement – if they have excess numbers of the infections or readmissions. Rapid AST, by its potential to lower infection rates and readmissions, thus could provide significant cost savings for hospitals
To impact the economics of antibiotic resistant infections requires rapid, accurate diagnostic testing of the infection at the onset and treatment with a targeted narrow-spectrum antibiotic that will most effectively treat the patient’s infection. With results in 4 hours, as compared to the days required by today’s culture-based AST tests, the MultiPath rapid AST results will improve healthcare economics by reducing the length of stay and readmissions caused by hospital infections by ensuring that patients are treated early with the effective antibiotic.
To learn more about First Light Diagnostics’ industry-changing diagnostic platform, visit www.firstlightdx.com.