Simple presentation of test accuracy may lead to inflated disease probabilities

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7385.393/a (Published 15 February 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:393
  1. Lucas M Bachmann (lucas.bachmann@evimed.ch), research fellow,
  2. Johann Steurer, director,
  3. Gerben ter Riet, senior research fellow
  1. Horten Centre, Zurich University, PO Box Nord, CH-8091 Zurich, Switzerland
  2. Department of General Practice, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Room J3-354, Meibergdreef 15, NL-1105 AZ Amsterdam, Netherlands

    EDITOR—We found that conveying information on the accuracy of tests in non-technical language improved doctors' ability to estimate disease probabilities accurately.1 We investigated whether doctors might misuse such non-technical presentation when considering the probability of endometrial cancer in a patient with positive results on transvaginal ultrasonography.

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    Distributions of attributed likelihood ratios in three groups given different summaries of information on diagnostic accuracy

    We presented 263 general practitioners in Switzerland with a pre-test probability of 10%, information that …

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