Tracking unnecessary negative urinalyses to reduce healthcare costs: a transversal study


About 7 million urinalyses are reimbursed yearly by the French public healthcare system, but the results of most of these tests are normal. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of negative urinalyses in ambulatory care, identify the associated factors and assess the relevance of prescriptions by general practitioners (GPs) according to French guidelines. A cross-sectional study was conducted in patients over 18 coming for urinalyses in two French ambulatory laboratories. Patients received a questionnaire on their symptoms, the reason for performing urinalysis and the use of urinary dipsticks. GP who prescribed urinalyses received a questionnaire assessing their practice. A total of 510 patients were included, and 71% of urinalyses were negative. Urinalyses were prescribed to 283 patients by GPs. Compared to those of specialists, GP prescriptions were associated with fewer negative urinalyses (59 vs 86%; p < 0.01). Among the negative urinalyses prescribed by GPs, the reasons of prescription were as follows: suspected urinary tract infection (UTI) (42.7%), control of bacteriological cure after UTI (24%), fever or abdominal pain (13%) and routine test (7%). About 35% of urinalyses were not indicated according to guidelines. Only 12% of patients used dipsticks before performing urinalysis although 87% of GPs were favourable to their use if they were provided by healthcare services. The annual cost of non-indicated urinalyses is estimated at 13 million euro. A systematic use of dipsticks provided by healthcare services could help to reduce health costs and the unnecessary use of antibiotics.

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We thank Dr. Duffier for the coordination of the study in the laboratories and Stéphanie Sidorkiewicz for her advices.

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Correspondence to A. Malmartel.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The protocol was approved by an ethics committee (CPP Ile de France II).

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Patients received an information letter and had to sign a consent form before their inclusion.

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Malmartel, A., Dutron, M. & Ghasarossian, C. Tracking unnecessary negative urinalyses to reduce healthcare costs: a transversal study. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 36, 1559–1563 (2017).

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  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Healthcare Service
  • Urinary Symptom
  • Urinary Dipstick
  • Bacteriological Cure