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Acad Emerg Med. 1997 Aug;4(8):818-26.

Statistical methodology: III. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves.

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VAMC Health Services Research and Development, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


Measures including sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values have been traditionally used to assess a diagnostic test's ability to detect the presence or absence of disease. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis allows visual evaluation of the trade-offs between sensitivity and specificity associated with different values of the test result, or different "cutpoints" for defining a positive result. The purpose of this article is to define, construct, and interpret a ROC curve using a hypothetical example applicable to emergency medicine practice.

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