WHO launches laboratory test costing tool

WHO/Faith Kilford Vorting

WHO has launched a tool to calculate the cost of a single laboratory test and help evaluate the laboratory’s annual testing costs. The laboratory test costing tool takes into account a large number of factors, such as the price of reagents (a substance used in laboratory testing), the frequency of testing, the investment and maintenance charges for the equipment, and personnel and facility costs.

Because laboratory services play a major role in the key processes of detection, assessment, response, notification and monitoring of public health events, accurate assessment of the costs of laboratory testing is essential for cost-effective laboratory administration and correct resource allocation.

A transparent mechanism for quantifying test prices that covers actual costs and that can be easily updated is therefore an important tool – especially for countries focusing on improving the quality of their health-care laboratory services as part of their strategy for improving both health care and the health-care system as a whole.

The tool was developed as part of the Better Labs for Better Health initiative and is provided free of charge upon request to eulab@who.int.

A demonstration version of the laboratory test costing tool and a user manual can be downloaded free of charge from the WHO/Europe website. A training video can also be provided on request. Please note that user training is recommended and that the demonstration version has restricted functionality. In particular, end users cannot extend the demonstration version and results cannot be printed.