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Am J Emerg Med. 1997 Nov;15(7):694-9.

Generalized likelihood ratios for quantitative diagnostic test scores.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque 87131-5246, USA.


The reduction of quantitative diagnostic test scores to the dichotomous case is a wasteful and unnecessary simplification in the era of high-speed computing. Physicians could make better use of the information embedded in quantitative test results if modern generalized curve estimation techniques were applied to the likelihood functions of Bayes' theorem. Hand calculations could be completely avoided and computed graphical summaries provided instead. Graphs showing posttest probability of disease as a function of pretest probability with confidence intervals (POD plots) would enhance acceptance of these techniques if they were immediately available at the computer terminal when test results were retrieved. Such constructs would also provide immediate feedback to physicians when a valueless test had been ordered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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