Evaluation of a workplace hemochromatosis screening program.
Hemochromatosis is a common inherited disorder of iron metabolism with significant health consequences for the employed population. Although screening for hemochromatosis has been recommended, workplace screening programs remain uncommon. In the first year of a newly initiated corporate screening program, 1968 employees were tested. The screening algorithm included measurement of serum iron and transferrin and subsequent ferritin levels in those employees with elevated iron/transferrin ratios. Thirteen percent of men and 21% of women had elevated iron/transferrin ratios. Of these, 14 men and 2 women had elevated ferritin levels. Of these 16, three had liver biopsies and all three have hemochromatosis. The cost of the screening program was $27,850. The cost per diagnosis was $9283 and the cost per year of life saved was $928. These costs compare very favorably with other common workplace screening programs. Several barriers to obtaining definitive diagnoses on all patients with a positive screening result were identified; strategies to overcome these barriers would further enhance the cost effectiveness of the program. We conclude that workplace hemochromatosis screening is highly cost effective and should be incorporated into health promotion/disease prevention programs.
Stave, GM; Mignogna, JJ; Powell, GS; Hunt, CM
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