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JAMA. 1984 Mar 23-30;251(12):1580-5.

Assessing the effectiveness of community screening programs.


Community screening programs seek to detect disorders or risk factors in seemingly healthy persons. The following seven guidelines for determining whether a screening program is likely to be effective are proposed and discussed: (1) Has the effectiveness of the program been demonstrated in a randomized trial? (2) Are efficacious treatments available? (3) Does the burden of suffering warrant screening? (4) Is there a good screening test? (5) Does the program reach those who could benefit? (6) Can the health system cope with the program? (7) Do persons with positive screenings comply with advice and interventions?


Using a hypothetical plan for pre-school developmental screening as a model, the authors present guidelines for predicting the effectiveness of community screening programs to detect disorders or risk factors in seemingly healthy persons. In cases where effectiveness has not been demonstrated by a randomized trial, the proposed program should (1) detect a condition that substantially impairs function, (2) have available a good screening test and efficacious treatment, (3) reach those who could benefit from it, and (4) be prepared to provide follow-up interventions and monitoring of compliance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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