Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a public health threat associated with antibiotic consumption. Community-acquired acute respiratory tract infections (CA-ARTIs) are a major driver of antibiotic consumption in primary care. We aimed to quantify the investments required for a large-scale rollout of point-of care (POC) diagnostic testing in Dutch primary care, and the impact on AMR due to reduced use of antibiotics.
We developed an individual-based model that simulates consultations for CA-ARTI at GP practices in the Netherlands and compared a scenario where GPs test all CA-ARTI patients with a hypothetical diagnostic strategy to continuing the current standard-of-care for the years 2020–2030. We estimated differences in costs and future AMR rates caused by testing all patients consulting for CA-ARTI with a hypothetical diagnostic strategy, compared to the current standard-of-care in GP practices.
Compared to the current standard-of-care, the diagnostic algorithm increases the total costs of GP consultations for CA-ARTI by 9% and 19%, when priced at €5 and €10, respectively. The forecast increase in Streptococcus pneumoniae resistance against penicillins can be partly restrained by the hypothetical diagnostic strategy from 3.8 to 3.5% in 2030, albeit with considerable uncertainty.
Our results show that implementing a hypothetical diagnostic strategy for all CA-ARTI patients in primary care raises the costs of consultations, while lowering antibiotic consumption and AMR. Novel health-economic methods to assess and communicate the potential benefits related to AMR may be required for interventions with limited gains for individual patients, but considerable potential related to antibiotic consumption and AMR.