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J Thromb Haemost. 2013 Jun;11 Suppl 1:129-41. doi: 10.1111/jth.12262.

Diagnostic and prognostic prediction models.

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Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center (UMC), Utrecht, the Netherlands.


Risk prediction models can be used to estimate the probability of either having (diagnostic model) or developing a particular disease or outcome (prognostic model). In clinical practice, these models are used to inform patients and guide therapeutic management. Examples from the field of venous thrombo-embolism (VTE) include the Wells rule for patients suspected of deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, and more recently prediction rules to estimate the risk of recurrence after a first episode of unprovoked VTE. In this paper, the three phases that are recommended before a prediction model may be used in daily practice are described: development, validation, and impact assessment. In the development phase, the focus is on model development commonly using a multivariable logistic (diagnostic) or survival (prognostic) regression analysis. The performance of the developed model is expressed by discrimination, calibration and (re-) classification. In the validation phase, the developed model is tested in a new set of patients using these same performance measures. This is important, as model performance is commonly poorer in a new set of patients, e.g. due to case-mix or domain differences. Finally, in the impact phase the ability of a prediction model to actually guide patient management is evaluated. Whereas in the development and validation phase single cohort designs are preferred, this last phase asks for comparative designs, ideally randomized designs; therapeutic management and outcomes after using the prediction model is compared to a control group not using the model (e.g. usual care).


D-dimer; clinical prediction rule; probability; risk assessment; venous thromboembolism

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