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Interpreting test results: don’t blame the tools

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 25 March 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m1162
  1. Santhanam Sundar, consultant oncologist
  1. Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK
  1. sundar{at}

McCormack and Holmes discuss the imprecision of medical measurements and suggest a method for estimating variation in test results.1 Byron’s paraphrased proverb, “Good workmen never quarrel with their tools,” aptly summarises the art of interpreting test results.2

If there were a perfect laboratory test for a given condition, patients could cut …

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