Diagnostic Studies - What the Clinician Needs to Know Regarding Methodology and Statistical Analysis of Assessments of a Diagnostic Test’s Performance
Pp. 3-12 (10)
Clinicians routinely face the challenge of diagnosing a medical condition, or assessing the severity and
prognosis of disease based upon the diagnostic information at their disposal. Using such information to determine
a diagnosis (e.g. imagining technology to diagnose glaucoma), is called a diagnostic test. Most diagnostic tests
fall comfortably short of perfection in their diagnosis. When assessing a diagnostic test there are two related
aspects to be concerned about – how well the test deals with diseased and non-diseased cases. Research is needed
to assess the diagnostic performance and more generally the role a diagnostic test should play in clinical care: if,
when and how it should be used. In this chapter, measures of diagnostic performance will be described using an
example study. The challenges in conducting a robust and clinically relevant diagnostic study will be considered.
Sensitivity, Specificity, Likelihood ratio, Predictive value, Diagnostic accuracy, Diagnostic
performance, Diagnostic odds ratio, Youden index, Applicability, Prognosis, Diagnostic test.
Health Services Research Unit, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK