Ann Lab Med.  2018 May;38(3):249-254. 10.3343/alm.2018.38.3.249.

Budget Impact of the Accreditation Program for Clinical Laboratories on Colorectal Cancer Screening via Fecal Immunochemical Testing: Results from the National Cancer Screening Program in Korea

  • 1National Cancer Control Institute, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Korea.
  • 2Department of Laboratory Medicine and Genetics, Soonchunhyang University Bucheon Hospital, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Bucheon, Korea.
  • 3Department of Laboratory Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seongnam, Korea.
  • 4Department of Laboratory Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 5Department of Laboratory Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


False-positive fecal immunochemical test (FIT) results in the National Cancer Screening Program (NCSP) for colorectal cancer may lead to unnecessary procedures, such as colonoscopies, increasing the medical costs. We estimated reductions in the cost of National Health Insurance according to the accreditation status of screening facilities participating in the NCSP for colorectal cancer.
We used data collected between 2007 and 2010 from NCSP and the Korea Central Cancer Registry to identify patients with colorectal cancer. We also ascertained the history of the accreditation of each facility by the Korean Laboratory Accreditation Program (KLAP). Budget impact was defined as a reduction in medical costs achieved when the false-positive rate of the non-accredited facilities decreased relative to that of the accredited facilities.
A total of 3,285 screening facilities participated in the NCSP. Of these, 196 were accredited by the KLAP. The false-positive rate of the accredited facilities was 2.47%, and that of the non-accredited facilities was 6.83%. Medical costs were estimated to be reduced by approximately 19 million US dollars (USD), and the cost of detecting one case of colorectal cancer was estimated to decrease from 9,212 USD to 7,332 USD if the false-positive rate of non-accredited facilities were decreased to that of the accredited facilities. Clinics were estimated to have the largest associated cost reduction.
Quality assurance in clinical laboratories could lower false-positive rates and prevent the use of unnecessary procedures, ensuring patient safety and increasing the cost-effectiveness of FIT screening in the NCSP for colorectal cancer.


Quality improvement; Colorectal cancer; Fecal immunochemical test; Organized screening; Quality assurance; Laboratory accreditation; Cost reduction
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