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The interpretation of test results.

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Dermatologists need to interpret an increasing number of research studies and diagnostic tests. Understanding the techniques for interpreting test results and making decisions based upon those tests represent important tools for decision making for both clinicians and researchers.


This article focuses briefly on the key parameters of diagnostic tests: sensitivity, specificity, prevalence, predictive values, likelihood ratios, and the concept of receiver-operating-characteristic (ROC) curves. A simple example is presented in a step-by-step manner.


The principles of interpreting test results are easy to learn and applicable in daily clinical routine. Therefore, dermatologists should be familiar with the concepts outlined in this paper.

J Cutan Med Surg. 2000 Jan;4(1):19-25. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t

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