Cost Determination

How to Subscribe
MLS & MLT Comprehensive CE Package
Includes 145 CE courses, most popular
$95Add to cart
Pick Your Courses
Up to 8 CE hours
$50Add to cart
Histology CE Package$65Add to cart
Histology CE User Increase$65Add to cart
Individual course$20Add to cart
Need multiple seats for your university or lab? Get a quote
The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Basic Concepts for Making Informed Financial Decisions for the Clinical Laboratory - Part 1. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

Learn more about Basic Concepts for Making Informed Financial Decisions for the Clinical Laboratory - Part 1 (online CE course)
Cost Determination

Costs are described in a number of ways. For example, they can be direct or indirect and fixed or variable. Direct costs are those that are directly traceable to a test procedure such as reagents, controls, and testing personnel. Indirect costs are costs not directly traceable to a test procedure such as general operation activities and institutional costs such as clinical laboratory management, heat, lighting, housekeeping, etc.
Fixed costs are those that do not vary (for a given time period) with changes in the test volume, whereas variable costs change proportionally with changes in test volume. The cost of a testing instrument is a fixed cost; reagents, controls, and disposable supplies constitute variable costs.
Table 1 illustrates the various cost categories:

Table 1: Cost Determination
Direct costs – attributed to an individual test
Reagents, personnel performing test, calibrators, proficiency testing
Indirect costs – not attributed to an individual test
Housekeeping, electrical use, building maintenance, HVAC
Fixed costs – constant and not subject to test volume
Test instrument, accreditation, non testing personnel i.e. managers and secretaries
Variable costs – changes based on test volume
Reagents and disposables

Labor for testing may be fixed or variable, but is generally considered to be a fixed cost unless new personnel are hired or overtime is required to perform the testing. For example, if there are salaried personnel hired to do the entire laboratory testing during a specific time period (i.e. 8-hour day) their contribution to perform that specific test becomes fixed.