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The sensitivity, specificity and predictive value of diagnostic information: a guide for clinicians.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Nurse practitioner
Publication Date
Volume
16
Issue
7
Pages
39–45
Identifiers
PMID: 1870764
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Nurse practitioners and other clinicians use laboratory studies and ancillary tests to confirm or rule out suspected conditions. Deciding which tests to use and interpreting results are essential to the practice of high-quality, cost-effective primary care. A working knowledge of test characteristics and performance facilitates these decisions. This article illustrates how a conceptual understanding of sensitivity, specificity and predictive value applies to daily practice. In addition, the article explains how to evaluate the quality and relevance of literature that reports test performance. While discussion focuses on laboratory tests, the same principles may be applied to the history and physical examination, and to other types of diagnostic data.

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