Could home sexually transmitted infection specimen collection with e-prescription be a cost-effective strategy for clinical trials and clinical care

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Pediatrics, Division of Adolescent Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Bacterial Infections and Mycoses | Female Urogenital Diseases and Pregnancy Complications | Health Services Administration | Infectious Disease | Male Urogenital Diseases | Pediatrics


BACKGROUND: Results of a recent demonstration project evaluating feasibility, acceptability, and cost of a Web-based sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and e-prescription treatment program (eSTI) suggest that this approach could be a feasible alternative to clinic-based testing and treatment, but the results need to be confirmed by a randomized comparative effectiveness trial.

METHODS: We modeled a decision tree comparing (1) cost of eSTI screening using a home collection kit and an e-prescription for uncomplicated treatment versus (2) hypothetical costs derived from the literature for referral to standard clinic-based STI screening and treatment. Primary outcome was number of STIs detected. Analyses were conducted from the clinical trial perspective and the health care system perspective.

RESULTS: The eSTI strategy detected 75 infections, and the clinic referral strategy detected 45 infections. Total cost of eSTI was $94,938 ($1266/STI detected) from the clinical trial perspective and $96,088 ($1281/STI detected) from the health care system perspective. Total cost of clinic referral was $87,367 ($1941/STI detected) from the clinical trial perspective and $71,668 ($1593/STI detected) from the health care system perspective.

CONCLUSIONS: Results indicate that eSTI will likely be more cost-effective (lower cost/STI detected) than clinic-based STI screening, both in the context of clinical trials and in routine clinical care. Although our results are promising, they are based on a demonstration project and estimates from other small studies. A comparative effectiveness research trial is needed to determine actual cost and impact of the eSTI system on identification and treatment of new infections and prevention of their sequelae.

DOI of Published Version



Sex Transm Dis. 2015 Jan;42(1):13-9. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000221. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Sexually transmitted diseases

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID