Monday, April 03, 2023

Hsieh Forbes Column: What Does It Mean To Say A Medical Test Is Sensitive Or Specific?

My latest Forbes column is now out: "What Does It Mean To Say A Medical Test Is 'Sensitive' Or Specific'?"

Some of the key concepts go back to World War II, and the early days of radar operator detection.

For a more in-depth discussion of these issues, as well as the closely related concepts of “positive predictive value” and “negative predictive value,” I highly recommend this excellent graphic novel (PDF version) by Dr. Stefan Tigges, Professor of Radiology at Emory University School of Medicine in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

(Bonus: Dr. Tigges provides one of the clearest explanation I’ve ever read of so-called "Receiver Operating Characteristic" curves -- another concept which harkens back to the old days of radar operators in the 1940s.)