Cost analysis of PAPNET-assisted vs. conventional pap smear evaluation in primary screening of cervical smears

W. J. Meerding*, H. Doornewaard, M. Van Ballegooijen, A. Bos, Y. Van der Graaf, J. G. Van den Tweel, Y. T. Van der Schouw, J. D.F. Habbema

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To assess the difference in costs between PAPNET-assisted and conventional microscopy of cervical smears when used as a primary screening tool. STUDY DESIGN: We performed time measurements of the initial screening of smears by four cytotechnologists in one laboratory. Time was measured in 816 conventionally screened smears and in 614 smears with PAPNET-assisted screening. Data were collected on the components of initial screening, clerical activities and other activities in the total work time of cytotechnologists in the routine situation and on resource requirements for both techniques. RESULTS: PAPNET saved an average of 22% on initial screening time per smear. Due to costs of processing and additional equipment, the costs of PAPNET-assisted screening were estimated to be $2.85 (and at least $1.79) higher per smear than conventional microscopy. The difference in costs is sensitive to the rate of time saving, the possibility of saving on quality control procedures and the component of the initial screening time in the total work time of cytotechnologists. CONCLUSION: Although PAPNET is time saving as compared with conventional microscopy, the associated reduction in personnel costs is outweighed by the costs of scanning the slides and additional equipment. This conclusion holds under a variety of assumptions. Using PAPNET instead of conventional microscopy as a primary screening tool will make cervical cancer screening less cost-effective unless the costs of PAPNET are considerably reduced and its sensitivity and/or specificity are considerably improved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-35
Number of pages8
JournalActa Cytologica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001


  • Cervical smears
  • Costs and cost analysis
  • Mass screening
  • Papanicolaou smear


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