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UK experts call for national system to evaluate diagnostic tests

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 13 March 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:575
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

A national system should be introduced to evaluate diagnostic tests for use by the NHS, a report published this week recommends. It warns that currently no process is available for deciding which of the rapidly growing number of new tests should be used.

Such an evaluation system should extend to tests and scans aimed at people who are well, making information available to the public to warn them that many of these tests are not useful and can be harmful, according to a second report.

The first report, The Evaluation of Diagnostic Laboratory Tests and Complex Biomarkers, notes that about one billion laboratory tests are performed each year in the United Kingdom. “NHS laboratories have sophisticated systems to ensure the analytical accuracy of the tests, yet no system is in place …

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