This study aimed to estimate the cost-effectiveness of exome sequencing (ES) and genome sequencing (GS) for children.
We modeled costs, diagnoses, and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) for diagnostic strategies for critically ill infants (aged <1 year) and children (aged <18 years) with suspected genetic conditions: (1) standard of care (SOC) testing, (2) ES, (3) GS, (4) SOC followed by ES, (5) SOC followed by GS, (6) ES followed by GS, and (7) SOC followed by ES followed by GS. We calculated the 10-year incremental cost per additional diagnosis, and lifetime incremental cost per QALY gained, from a health care perspective.
First-line GS costs $15,048 per diagnosis vs SOC for infants and $27,349 per diagnosis for children. If GS is unavailable, ES represents the next most efficient option compared with SOC ($15,543 per diagnosis for infants and $28,822 per diagnosis for children). Other strategies provided the same or fewer diagnoses at a higher incremental cost per diagnosis. Lifetime results depend on the patient’s assumed long-term prognosis after diagnosis. For infants, GS ranged from cost-saving (vs all alternatives) to $18,877 per QALY (vs SOC). For children, GS (vs SOC) ranged from $119,705 to $490,047 per QALY.
First-line GS may be the most cost-effective strategy for diagnosing infants with suspected genetic conditions. For all children, GS may be cost-effective under certain assumptions. ES is nearly as efficient as GS and hence is a viable option when GS is unavailable.