Routine Diabetes Tests Can Save Money

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Emory University researchers say that routine diabetes tests will save more in health spending than the cost of screening. According to estimates, 57 million Americans have pre-diabetes, or insulin resistance, and 5.7 million Americans do not know they are diabetic. Screening for diabetes is suggested as a means to curb health spending. Early diagnosis and intervention would save money from the associated costs of treating diabetes complications.

Study co-author Lawrence S. Phillips, MD, Emory University School of Medicine Professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology notes, "The economic costs of diabetes threaten the financial integrity of our health care systems.” Complications of diabetes include vascular disease, that include heart attack, kidney and eye disease, and permanent disability from diabetic neuropathy – all of which are commonly associated with diabetes and results in burden on our health care system. Routine testing for diabetes could potentially help curb much of the associated healthcare costs of diabetes complications.


Among 1259 adults screened by the researchers for diabetes, twenty-four percent had either pre-diabetes or diabetes. Placing patients on Metformin, and educating about lifestyle changes would ultimately curb health spending, compared to ignoring making diabetic testing a matter of routine.

The researchers determined that diabetes screening and early intervention would cost $180,000 to $186,000. Health spending without routine testing for diabetes would be about $206,000, over a three-year period.

The new study shows that routine tests for diabetes can help curb health spending by identifying and intervening to treat pre-diabetes, and for diagnosing 5.7 million Americans who may not know they are diabetic.

Emory University



This research strengthens the case for investing in prevention: particularly tackling insulin resistance before it tips over into diabetes.