(HealthDay News) — Primary care providers (PCPs) order significantly more food allergen panels and generate higher costs per patient than allergists, according to a review published in Pediatrics.
David R. Stukus, MD, from The Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus, and colleagues conducted a retrospective review of food allergen immunoglobulin E (IgE) tests ordered by all provider types during 2013.
The researchers found that 10,794 single-food IgE tests and 3,065 allergen panels were ordered during 2013. Most single-food IgE tests (58.2%) were ordered by allergists, while PCPs ordered 78.8% of food allergen panels (P<.001). Of all PCP-ordered IgE tests, 45.1% were panels compared with 1.2% of allergist-placed orders (P<.001). Compared to PCPs with less experience, PCPs in practice for >15 years ordered a higher number of food allergen panels (P<.05). PCPs ordered more tests for unlikely causes of food allergies than allergists (P<.001). PCPs had higher total cost of IgE testing and cost per patient than allergists.
“These results suggest a need for increased education of PCPs regarding proper use of food IgE tests,” the authors write.
- Stukus DR, Kempe E, Leber A, Thornton D, Scherzer R. Use of food allergy panels by pediatric care providers compared with allergists. Pediatrics. 2016. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-1602.